Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

December 10, 2015

Engineering gets NSF grant for PhD program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a nearly $1.6 million grant to the Swanson School of Engineering to improve the success of underrepresented students in doctoral engineering programs through faculty-student interaction. The five-year program will allow Swanson school faculty to adopt and adapt strategies and practices employed by the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s (UMBC) Meyerhoff scholars program and the NSF-funded PROMISE AGEP Maryland project to create a culture change within the traditional PhD experience.

The Pitt project is supported by the NSF’s alliances for graduate education and the professoriate (AGEP) program, which funds projects to expand the adoption and/or adaptation of research findings and evidence-based strategies and practices related to the participation and success of underrepresented minorities in STEM graduate education, postdoctoral training and academic STEM careers at all types of institutions of higher education.

The grant proposal authors are Sylvanus N. Wosu, associate dean for diversity affairs; Steven D. Abramowitch, faculty member in bioengineering; and Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre, director of the Engineering Education Research Center. The grant, totaling $1,584,793, continues through Aug. 31, 2020.

According to the Pitt proposal, the research team will focus specifically on improving faculty engagement with students, advancing their awareness of the barriers and problems the student experience, and developing a shared vision regarding the success of underrepresented minority graduate students within the Swanson school. Student-focused objectives include adapting and implementing the evidence-based strategies being adopted, enhancing professional and educational skills, and increasing the number of students who are retained in and graduated from engineering doctoral programs.

With support and extra funds provided by the Swanson school’s U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering Office, the program will provide U.S. underrepresented students with a stipend and tuition, in addition to support for summer study.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 8

Leave a Reply