National Science Foundation Enables HBCU Study by CASL

N.C. A&T Among Recipients of $9M NSF Grant for STEM Leadership Research

Greensboro, N.C. (Aug. 22, 2018) — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant of $9 million that will allow the Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL) to widen and deepen its work to advance and accelerate diversity and inclusion in the nation’s STEM higher education enterprise.

The Center will examine how leadership at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) has played a role in broadening the participation of African Americans in STEM. The results of this work are expected to aid HBCUs and other institutions of higher learning in developing a new generation of leaders to broaden participation in STEM.

Funded by the HBCU-Undergraduate Program at NSF, the project involves four partner institutions in higher education: the University of the Virgin Islands, the lead institution; Fielding Graduate University; North Carolina A&T State University; and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), which houses several other NSF-funded projects, will lead the research component of the project. The research will focus on studying the nature of the leadership styles and strategies associated with the stellar record of HBCUs in graduating African Americans in STEM and in being national leaders in preparing African Americans for doctoral study in STEM.

“Our faculty and students have perfected various models of success that must be researched, studied, compared to others and disseminated throughout the nation,” said Dr. David Hall, President of UVI. “The future of the U.S. and world economy turns on the work that is occurring in various STEM fields, and HBCUs play a critical role in attracting, developing and inspiring future leaders in this field. This is an awesome and humbling task that we and our partners are ready and willing to undertake.”

North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T), a leading HBCU research university in the STEM fields, will team with Fielding Graduate University, long known for its leadership studies programs, to conduct leadership development programming in broadening STEM participation for emerging academic leaders. Based on CASL’s research findings, this effort will seek to establish the foundation for informing HBCUs and all of American higher education on the research-based strategies for producing new leaders to broaden STEM participation.

“Fielding is proud to be a part of advancing leadership in the STEM fields through the establishment of this collaborative national Center,” said Fielding President Dr. Katrina Rogers. “Since its founding, Fielding and its faculty have pioneered a model of quality graduate education that links research and practice in support of social change and justice. Receiving support from the National Science Foundation for CASL is an affirmation of this legacy and its promise for the future.”

“As an institution with a long history of leadership in STEM disciplines, North Carolina A&T State University is truly excited about the timely creation of this new center for STEM leadership,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “As we and so many of our peer institutions scale up to meet the growing national demand for highly educated, well-prepared graduates in STEM professions, the work of this center will provide meaningful support for these efforts. Having well-prepared leadership for this important work is essential, both now and well into the future.”

The Association of American Colleges and Universities, recognized nationally and internationally as the leading association dedicated to advancing the quality, vitality, and public standing of liberal education and inclusive excellence in higher education, will lead the knowledge transfer and outreach efforts of CASL. It will leverage its research findings to rightfully place HBCUs at the center of our nation’s effort to produce a more diverse and competitively trained STEM workforce.

“CASL is exactly what we’ve needed in undergraduate STEM education reform for a very long time,” says AAC&U President Dr. Lynn Pasquerella. “This important work is in perfect alignment with AAC&U and our more than 1,400 member institutions who recognize that HBCUs are vital to sustaining our competitive edge in scientific discovery and innovation. I applaud the CASL leaders for their vision and foresight.”

CASL’s administrative offices will be housed in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill and headed by the Center’s Executive Director Orlando Taylor, who is also Fielding’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Research. 

About CASL: CASL is funded by the National Science Foundation’s HBCU Undergraduate Program as its first Broadening Participation Research Center to conduct rigorous research on, and analysis of, the impact of leadership at HBCUs on broadening participation in STEM, develop state-of-the-art education programs to empower emerging and future HBCU and higher-education leaders, and design innovative opportunities for the effective transfer of knowledge across all mainstream STEM higher education reform efforts.