Cal Poly Pomona has been awarded $1 million from the National Science Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Talent Expansion Program.
The project, “Three Strategies to Improve STEM Graduation Rates,” aims to increase graduation and retention rates for students in those disciplines.
The five-year grant will address three areas: course redevelopment, enhanced-first year experiences and apprenticeships/professional development opportunities. In particular, curriculum in introductory math and science courses will be improved to include more interactive teaching and learning. First-year experience courses will engage students in problem-solving activities and promote community.
“The grant is looking at how we can support students by developing the structure and support system,” says chemistry Professor Barbara Burke. “By changing the structure of our programs, we’ll be reaching and supporting more students and helping them graduate.”
Chemistry Professor Edward Walton, Burke, and chemical & materials engineering Professor Winny Dong are leading the project, which is expected to increase the graduation rate by 50 percent, from about 1,079 to 1,620 graduates annually. After five years, the program plans to graduate 500 STEM students annually.
The award puts Cal Poly Pomona in a select group nationwide. From the more than 200 proposals submitted to the NSF, only 22 were approved. The university was one of just two recipients of an award at the million-dollar level.