By Alec Jennings
University News Service
March 2, 2009
A new program at Texas State University-San Marcos will look to improve minority representation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by partnering with San Antonio College.
The program, Puentes: A Partnership to Improve Access to the Baccalaureate for South Texans through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Teaching and Learning Innovation, is a Title V grant funded by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to San Antonio College (SAC), which has provided a sub-award to Texas State as a partnership. Puentes looks to create a link between Texas State and San Antonio College, both in STEM faculty and staff professional development to increase the number of minority and low income STEM transfer students.
"This program will increase the amount of Hispanic or minority and/or low-income STEM transfers from SAC to earn their bachelor’s degrees from Texas State," said Sonya Rahrovi, Puentes pipeline coordinator for Texas State. "There is an emphasis on Hispanic and low-income students."
One element of the program will include professional development workshops during the academic year and the summer for both institutions' faculty and staff to focus on improving instructional practices. The workshops will update participants' instructional knowledge and increase communication between the institutions. Another element will include Texas State "pipeline coordinators" which will work with personnel at both institutions to create articulation agreements for STEM majors in order to make the transition from SAC to Texas State smoother and shorten the time to graduation of transfer students.
As Texas State aims to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, minority STEM students at SAC will be given the opportunity to attend orientation events encouraging transfer to Texas State. Further funds through the program will be allocated to build a research greenhouse for the Department of Biology.