Federal grant to support STEM studies at UMES

Office of Public Relations

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

PRINCESS ANNE, MD – (Jan. 16, 2013) – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the recipient of a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant it will use to grow the ranks of women studying and teaching science, technology, engineering and math.

UMES is among five historically black institutions selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to participate in the second phase of “Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future,” an initiative it developed with the support of federal funding.

The program targets female educators of color in the so-called “STEM” disciplines by developing them into academic and administrative leaders as well as encouraging the redesign of undergraduate curriculums.

“I am delighted by UMES’ selection to participate in ‘Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future,’ university President Juliette B. Bell said. “I know this program will be beneficial in supporting and enhancing our work in science, technology, engineering and math.”

“It is critical that universities such as UMES provide opportunities for their faculty, especially women of color in STEM, who are still grossly underrepresented, to develop and assume leadership roles,” Bell said.

UMES was one of 13 institutions picked for the initial phase of the program in 2010 and demonstrated that its approach to meeting the association’s goals deserved more support.

“We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for giving AAC&U the opportunity to continue providing professional and STEM leadership development to women of color faculty members at HBCUs, and to work more intensively with institutions for STEM transformation,” association President Carol Geary Schneider said.

UMES will share approximately $1.1 million in NSF funding with Bennett College, North Carolina Central, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State and Winston-Salem State universities.

Dr. Linda Johnson, a biologist, and Dr. Tia Vance, math and computer science, are UMES’ faculty representatives who will coordinate the program’s implementation.  They will be supported by Dr. Derrek Dunn, chairman of UMES’ technology department; Robin Burton of the Center for Access and Academic Success; and Dr. Bernita Sims-Tucker, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

Including non-STEM faculty and academic support and student life professionals is AAC&U’s strategy for broadening campus engagement to enhance learning outcomes and increasing the likelihood changes will be adopted and sustained over time.

The program’s goals also include advancing innovative models for undergraduate STEM education that are likely to increase the number of graduates from historically underrepresented populations earning math, science, engineering and technology degrees.

Johnson, who joined the UMES faculty in 1999, is excited about her role in helping change the approach to teaching and learning in fields where women historically have been underrepresented.

“I’m a teacher—an educator,” Johnson said. “It is who I am. I know the value of being able to think beyond the superficial. This program will allow us – encourage us – to do just that.”

“It is my responsibility to develop others,” she said.

Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355.