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Lamar University selected to compete in ‘Inclusive Excellence’ initiative

Lamar University has been selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to apply for grants through HHMI’s $60 million Inclusive Excellence initiative to encourage colleges and universities to broaden access to science excellence for all students.

“This is a great opportunity for Lamar University to affect science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at all levels in Southeast Texas,” said Jennifer Daniel, associate professor of mathematics. “Lamar has a diverse student population and consists of many students that are traditionally underserved in the STEM fields.

Students considered to be underserved include not only the traditional older students, but also students that face additional barriers to collegiate success —underrepresented minorities, women, veterans, first-generation college students, active duty military, foster youth, parents in need of child care, transfer students, and low-income students that have to work in addition to their studies, Daniel said. 

“Lamar can implement substantive change by participating in a self-study that includes examining underserved students access to active and collaborative learning experiences, to mentor relationships, and to participation in High Impact Practice,” she said. 

The “STEM Success in SETX” program also aims to unite efforts in STEM recruiting and retention across campus and to create a STEM center that serves all of Southeast Texas and educators at all levels in the area, Daniel said.

HHMI’s invitation was extended to 91 schools nationally from 511 that submitted pre-proposals in response to the launch of the initiative in May 2015.  The competition was opened to more than 1,500 U.S. colleges and universities.

The 91 schools represent the broad spectrum of schools in the 2015 Carnegie Classification: 40 doctoral universities, 29 master’s colleges and universities, 21 baccalaureate colleges, and one tribal college.

The proposals will be considered for first-round awards that will begin in September 2017.   HHMI plans to award approximately 60 grants in two rounds of open competitions.

In this round of the competition, HHMI will award up to 30 grants to institutions that are committed to inclusive science education and are well positioned to work over the next five years to improve their ability to become more inclusive of all students. HHMI’s long-term aim is for successful strategies pioneered by the grantee institutions to serve as models to be adapted and adopted by other institutions.

HHMI is a science philanthropy Headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. HHMI employs more than 2,500 individuals across the United States. In fiscal year 2015, HHMI invested $666 million in U.S. biomedical research and provided $85 million in grants and other support for science education.

The Institute plays a powerful role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research.