AAC&U selects JSU for faculty development initiative

NSF-supported program provides professional and leadership development to women of color faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University is among 10 colleges and universities selected by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to participate in the third cohort of Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future (PCFF). This project supports women of color faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in becoming strong academic and administrative leaders, both on campus and within their respective disciplines. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP). The institutions selected over the three cohorts represent many different types including two-year and four-year, public and private HBCUs.

The institutions include:

Alcorn State University (Lorman, MS)
Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)
Hampton University (Hampton, VA)
Howard University (Washington, DC)
Jackson State University (Jackson, MS)
Lane College (Jackson, TN)
Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Lincoln University, PA)
Southern University at New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
Tougaloo College (Tougaloo, MS)
Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

Each participating institution nominated two women of color faculty in STEM disciplines to participate in all phases of the project. Institutional leaders also identified three additional participants to engage in the second phase of the project, which will include participation in AAC&U’s Institute on Integrative Learning and The Departments in July 2013.

The first phase participants include Dr. Jana Talley, Department of Mathematics, and Dr. April Tanner, Department of Computer Science. The second phase includes Dr. Loretta Moore, Division of Research and Federal Relations, Dr. Evelyn Leggette, Division of Undergraduate Studies, and Dr. Kaye Sly, Department of Psychology.

“Jackson State University’s participation in this program is in concert with our mission and strategic direction of growing our human and intellectual capital in STEM and other areas,” said Dr. Felix Okojie, Vice President for Research and Federal Relations. “Our faculty participation in PCFF is also closely aligned with our leadership initiatives of JSUAdvance, the Center for University Scholars as well as our newly established Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement.”

JSUAdvance participants Dr. Carolyn Howard (left), Dr. Kaye Sly, Dr. Evelyn Leggette, Dr. Ruomei Gao, Dr. Loretta Moore, Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Dr. Jana Talley, Dr. Jessica Buck, Brenda Johnson, Dr. Olga Olsby and Dr. Danuta Leszczynska took part in a summer writing retreat at the Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center. Sly, Leggette, Moore and Talley will participate in PCFF with Tanner (not pictured).

Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s HBCUs will have participated in PCFF at the end of 2013, which marks the third and final year of the grant.

The goals of the PCFF project are to provide professional and leadership development for women of color faculty in STEM disciplines, or in NSF natural and behavioral science disciplines; and to enhance undergraduate STEM education at HBCUs and beyond. This project provides participants with the opportunity and the financial support to engage in and influence the national dialogue on improving undergraduate STEM education. Project participants will both contribute to and gain from national efforts to develop and implement innovative STEM teaching and learning practices and effective curricular change strategies.

“The project has already made great strides in advancing the professional and leadership development of women of color faculty in STEM fields,” said AAC&U Senior Scholar, Co-PI and Project Director Alma Clayton-Pedersen. “The 26 institutional leaders in the first and second cohorts are busy implementing the STEM education enhancement plans they developed over the course of their participation and refined during AAC&U’s summer Institutes on Integrative Learning and Departments (2012) and Engaging Departments (2011). Early indications from external evaluators are that PCFF is having a strong impact on the participants’ leadership development. Over time PCFF is expected to showcase curricular changes that improve undergraduate STEM education at the selected institutions.”

By uncovering useful strategies for preparing women of color faculty for academic leadership in STEM fields, PCFF is benefitting STEM education broadly, as well as at HBCUs through its dissemination efforts. Three women from two institutions have contributed articles in national print and online publications. Others are scheduled to make presentations at AAC&U’s national STEM conference in November. In addition, AAC&U hopes to extend PCFF efforts with the first two cohorts over the next three years through a pending proposal at NSF.

This initiative is supported with a grant from the National Science Foundation. For additional information about the project, see: http://www.aacu.org/pcff.


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