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Stony Brook Receives $1 Million to Support Diversity, Inclusion in STEM Education


Stony Brook Receives $1 Million to Support Diversity, Inclusion in STEM Education

Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant designed to help students with varied backgrounds succeed

HHMI Faculty

Ross Nehm, center, leads Stony Brook’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative. He is developing the program with University faculty colleagues, from left: Gregory Rushton, Bonita London, Nora Galambos and Scott Sutherland.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., June 21, 2017 – Stony Brook University received a five-year $1 million grant, effective September 1, 2017, from  the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Initiative for a program that will create faculty learning communities focused on developing inclusive practices in the classroom and laboratory.

The goal of the Inclusive Excellence Initiative is to help increase the capacity of higher education institutions to engage students from diverse ethnic, family and economic backgrounds and nontraditional students such as military veterans, to be successful in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

“Stony Brook University has an unwavering commitment to diversity – anchored in our strong values of access and inclusiveness,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook University. “Prof. Nehm and his team are to be commended for the care and commitment it required to create a proposal that establishes a roadmap to success for our underserved students seeking to get the most from their Stony Brook STEM education. This HHMI award is another example of how Stony Brook works with students coming from lower income households and helps them move into the top 20% of the income earning potential.”

“This is a tremendous achievement for Ross Nehm and his team. We congratulate them and applaud their exemplary efforts to empower faculty to foster inclusiveness in the classroom,” said Michael A. Bernstein, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Their work will powerfully strengthen Stony Brook’s mission to promote diversity throughout our institution.”

According Project Director, Ross Nehm, Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolution in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook, a variety of classroom assessment and faculty training activities will be developed to enhance STEM instruction to address diverse needs. He and colleagues Bonita London (Psychology), Gregory Rushton (Chemistry), Scott Sutherland (Mathematics), and Nora Galambos (Institutional Research and Effectiveness) are establishing an interdisciplinary faculty research team for the initiative. The first step will be a period of coordinated innovation and evaluation of education practices. From there, the interdisciplinary team will focus efforts on:

  • Fostering a more inclusive campus community that embraces current research on successful science engagement practices;
  • Purging psychosocial barriers to inclusion from course designs and faculty behaviors;
  • Constructing a broad array of novel learning pathways aligned with student needs and characterized by supportive classroom climates and faculty mindsets;
  • Providing more effective experiences for underprepared students to succeed through coordinated feedback between instructional actions and co-curricular student support services; and,
  • Building a more coordinated network of action through Faculty Learning Communities, Summer Institutes, and external change agents.

“I’m very proud of the efforts of our faculty across the College to aid in the success of students from diverse populations,” says Sacha Kopp, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This aligns with several efforts to create an inclusive, welcoming environment. Each of our faculty involved in this initiative brings a passion for enhancing the diversity of our college in the STEM fields.”

University efforts will be united in a data-driven predictive analytics model that provides timely, actionable, and meaningful information about student success and inclusion to faculty, advising and student support services, and administrative units.

“Ultimately this grant will enable us to put programs and data-driven curriculum and classroom research in place, with the goal to transform science and math instruction and achieve sustained success in a more expansive array of students,” said Nehm.

For more information about HHMI initiative see this press release and feature story.



About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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