STEM profs receive $1M to retain nontraditional students

Marc Facciotti, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Genome Center, will be the PI of a new project to diversify the undergraduate STEM population at UC Davis, courtesy of a $1 million grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute as part of their Inclusive Excellence initiative. Co-PIs include Annaliese Franz (Chemistry), Michel Igo (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics), Timothy Lewis (Mathematics), and Marco Molinaro (Center for Education Effectiveness).

Professor Facciotti giving students a lab tour.

The initiative aims to provide faculty with tools to better retain first generation, low income, and underrepresented minorities in the large first year classes that can be especially challenging for students new to a university environment. By providing instructors with information about these challenges and the most current techniques to address them, and developing software to track student progress and the impact of new methods, HHMI and UCD hope to think in new ways and ‘move science education forward’. Successful approaches can then be disseminated to other schools via the Inclusive Excellence Commission.

This will complement the university’s existing efforts, which focus on providing resources such as mentoring programs directly to students. For more information, please see Andy Fell’s article at the UC Davis News website.

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