University President Offers Innovative Strategies to Increase STEM Achievement in Higher Education

Policy Paper Released by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation Examines How Institutions can Improve Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Completion

Sep 26, 2011, 12:14 ET from The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation

NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is critical as the nation addresses key challenges in healthcare, the environment, national security and the economy. One problem, however, is that there is an inadequate supply of college graduates excelling in these fields.

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), offers practical and scalable solutions to that problem in a new policy paper released by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation. In the paper, Institutional Change in Higher Education: Innovation and Collaboration, Hrabowski discusses how his institution has addressed the shortage of STEM graduates, particularly among groups that have been underrepresented in these fields, including minorities, women, and students from low-income backgrounds. UMBC has been recognized widely as a leader in higher education innovation. For three years in a row, the U.S. News and World Report America's Best Colleges Guide has ranked the university number one among "Up-and-Coming" national universities.

Hrabowski explains how UMBC's Meyerhoff Scholars Program has developed over the past two decades, earning recognition as a national model for preparing research scientists and engineers. UMBC has become the nation's leading predominantly white institution for producing African-American bachelor's degree graduates who go on to complete STEM Ph.D.s. The Meyerhoff Program targets high-achieving minority students who are committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in STEM fields, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance.

To help meet the growing demand for STEM experts nationwide and encourage institutional change, Hrabowski urges colleges and universities to:

  • Establish priorities, focus on strategic planning, and emphasize effectiveness and efficiency in the use of resources;
  • Reflect on their institution's culture, taking into account school values, practices, habits, and even the relationships among faculty, staff, and students;
  • Encourage the involvement of the entire campus, including faculty, administration, and students, in understanding and addressing broad retention issues and general academic performance;
  • Focus on the importance of group study and other approaches that inform redesign for first-year STEM courses;
  • Increase support for minority groups by providing knowledge and skill development, academic and social integration, support and motivation, and advising and monitoring; and
  • Develop distinct programs and initiatives that address change needed in graduate programs.

Hrabowski shows that the framework developed through the Meyerhoff Scholars Program underlies other important programs and initiatives at UMBC that have helped create a campus climate of inclusive excellence. Hrabowski will discuss the paper's themes as a featured speaker at the third annual Innovation in Education Summit in New York City on September 28, 2011. Sponsored by The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, the event brings together thought leaders to discuss critical issues and trends and their impact on today's education environment.  

Hrabowski has served as UMBC's president since 1992. In addition to co-founding the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, he has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, which are used by universities, school systems and community groups around the country. Hrabowski was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, received the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and was named one of America's 10 Best College Presidents by TIME magazine.

To download a copy of "Institutional Change in Higher Education: Innovation and Collaboration," visit http://mcgraw-hillresearchfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Whitepaper_Institutional-Change-in-Higher-Education-Hrabowkskifinal.pdf.

About The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation

The Foundation was established with the support of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). It was incorporated on July 16, 2010, as a Delaware non-profit and is in the process of applying to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Media Contact: Tom Stanton McGraw-Hill Education (212) 904-3214 Tom_Stanton@McGraw-Hill.com

SOURCE The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation