Wayne Two Bulls
A goal of the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) is to expand the STEM instructional and research capacities of specific institutions of higher education that serve the Nation's indigenous students. Expanding the STEM curricula offerings at these institutions expands the opportunities of their students to pursue challenging, rewarding careers in STEM fields, provides for research studies in areas that may be culturally significant, and encourages a community and generational appreciation for science and mathematics education. This project aligns directly with that goal, and moreover will inform the body of knowledge about strategies that attract, retain and graduate American Indian students in engineering. The Fort Peck Community College (FPCC) will develop a Pre-Engineering Associate of Science (AS) degree program that is transferrable to a bachelor-degree program in Engineering or a related STEM field. The overall purpose of this work is to increase the number of American Indian students pursuing STEM career pathways and achieving STEM degrees at FPCC. The project addresses a growing need for engineers in the region, some of which can be attributed to region's fossil fuel and renewable energy activities. It is important to increase the number of STEM majors and graduates at FPCC as a means to assist Assiniboine and Sioux tribal members to enter these high-growth sectors of the workforce. The project expands FPCC's degree offerings to include a new AS degree in Pre-Engineering to meet the growing need for engineers in the region, use promising strategies from emerging research on community colleges to improve instruction and student achievement in mathematics, build innovative supports to help students complete STEM associate degrees at FPCC and matriculate to STEM bachelor degrees, and expand the college's undergraduate research capacity in STEM fields.<br/><br/>The project builds on and advances research on promising practices from emerging community college research to promote increased student math proficiency and success in STEM fields through early assessment, curriculum redesign and targeted tutoring, expanded access to learning supports, faculty development, transition support from two-year to four-year degrees, and authentic research experiences. The project will address research questions regarding the effect of these promising strategies with American Indian students pursuing STEM degrees. The project is evaluated using a multi-dimensional approach that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting data. The evaluation plan is based on the tenets of a model for return on investment specifically designed for TCUs and based on the work of Phillips and Phillips. These measures and data elements will be used to evaluate how well the project is meeting its objectives to help the project leadership make data-driven decisions regarding project implementation and to derive research-based understanding of the impact of the strategies proposed. Formative data will be collected each semester to inform ongoing activities of the project and summative data will be used to make determinations regarding project successes, strengths, challenges, and recommendations for next steps.