The authors of the study, (l-r): FAMU provost and VP of academic affairs Maurice Edington, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of Faculty Development Desmond Stephens, Ph.D., Director of Center for Academic Success in the College of Education Serena Roberts, Ph.D., Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering and Director Title III Graduate Engineering Program Carl Moore Jr., Ph.D., coordinator of research programs Charlemagne Akpovo, and Associate Provost and Professor of Physics Lewis Johnson, Ph.D.
Credit: (Lewis Johnson/FAMU)
Six Florida A&M University (FAMU) faculty members were honored with Director Awards at the National Symposium on Student Retention Conference 2021.
The group received the award for Best Paper that featured a path for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student success. The conference is a strategic initiative taken by the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) at the University of Oklahoma.
FAMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maurice Edington, Ph.D., served as the principal investigator for the study. The paper titled, “Preparing STEM Scholars for Success (PS3) Program at Florida A&M University,” demonstrates the success the group has had with incoming first-year STEM students.
“This work aligns with FAMU’s strategic priority to increase degree production in STEM disciplines, which enables us to effectively address workforce needs in the state and nation,” said Edington, who is also a professor of chemistry. “Our research is demonstrating that innovative approaches like the PS3 program can play a pivotal role in increasing student success outcomes.”
The other co-authors of the study include Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of Faculty Development Desmond Stephens, Ph.D., Director of Center for Academic Success in the College of Education Serena Roberts, Ph.D., Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering and Director Title III Graduate Engineering Program Carl Moore Jr., Ph.D., coordinator of research programs Charlemagne Akpovo, and Associate Provost and Professor of Physics Lewis Johnson, Ph.D.
Stephens is the co-principal investigator for the project, was the first author on the article and presented the paper at the conference.
“The PS3 program is moving the needle on student success by ensuring STEM students begin their matriculation at FAMU in the appropriate mathematics courses,” Stephens said. “They have been provided a set of core strategies for their academic success, and that they have had early exposure to the rigors of college coursework.”
The PS3 program is a significant component of the authors’ National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Science Community of Active Learners to Enhance Achievement and Retention (SCALAR II) project. The multimillion-dollar project has the goal of placing students in effective learning environments. The project provides students with academic support, helps them develop critical thinking skills, and ensures students develop foundational knowledge in their disciplines.
The success of the SCALAR II program helped the group secure a $1 million grant from the NSF to establish a university-wide Center for STEM Education and Research.
“We continue to model how best to educate underrepresented students in STEM,” Moore said. “We are expanding the successes demonstrated in the paper and are creating new efforts to propel FAMU’s STEM students to new heights. It is inspiring.”