Bronx, NY – Bronx Community College (BCC) of The City University of New York has been awarded one of the largest grant acquisitions in the College.’’s history from the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to produce greater numbers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, and to insure that minority and economically disadvantaged students are equitably represented in these critically important fields. This project seeks to strengthen the institutional frameworks needed to produce STEM Associate’s degree holders at Bronx Community College, and to bring them to successful Bachelor’s degree attainment at the City College of New York (CCNY). The $2.4 million will extend over a two year period.
Three qualities known to lead to student success in STEM disciplines are: continuity, which structures the educational experience in ways that best support student advancement through increasingly rigorous STEM content; capacity, which emphasizes enhancing student knowledge and skills; and engagement, which focuses on developing student interest and motivation. This project is organized around activities that build upon these three indicators of student success:
- Continuity- Students transferring from BCC to CCNY will be given academic advisement and mentoring by STEM faculty at both institutions. Cross-campus faculty collaboration will align STEM coursework and curricula. Students will be effectively and actively tracked by academic advisors. New dual/joint degree programs will be developed in STEM disciplines.
- Capacity- A new interdisciplinary lab skills course will accelerate student progress at BCC, and BCC transfer students will attend joint BCC/CCNY “Bridge”programs designed to strengthen key mathematical skills and comprehension of scientific concepts. Paid internships will provide financial support and reinforce learning. Laboratory upgrades at BCC will align coursework across the campuses.
- Engagement. – BCC faculty will provide financial support to STEM students so that they feel a connection to a larger scientific community. Lack of sufficient funds and having to work full-time are major problems among students. The grant will provide greatly needed funds for academic and non-academic services that the college has not been able to afford in the past. There will even be release time for faculty so that they can spend more time with students. The grant will provide academic advisement on a regular basis by specially trained STEM faculty advisors using a case management approach. Additionally, a counselor with a background in psychology will be available to students with psycho-social and family issues that impact academic performance.
Psycho-social counseling focuses upon the entire student including not only academic problems but also non-academic issues such as stress, test anxiety, financial concerns and family problems. BCC’s new STEM Resource Center will host career development events and distribute information on financial aid, internships, and scholarships. Two new colleges, BCC and City College, will jointly sponsor research projects, field trips, and family engagement activities for STEM students.
“We feel that this project will be an innovative way to help students achieve their educational objectives. It gives us particular satisfaction to bring these resources to our student population, which has so many challenges,” said grant co-authors Dr. Luis Montenegro, Chair of Physics and Engineering; Dr. Martin Fein, Chair of Biology and Dr. Reid Strieby, Co-Principal Investigator of the BCC Energy Services and Technology program.
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Bronx Community College (BCC) of The City University of New York is in its 51st anniversary year of service to students in New York City in 2008. Over the past seven years, enrollment has increased 30 per cent to 9,000 students, reflecting the reliance of the surrounding communities on it as a pathway to a better life. BCC President Carolyn G. Williams is in her 12th year of leadership service to the College, which is located on a 43-acre campus at West 181st Street & University Avenue, formerly New York University’s uptown campus until 1973.
BCC students from over 109 nations receive an excellent preparation to go on to four-year colleges or to advance into successful vocational careers. Programs offered at BCC include Digital Arts, Computer Information Systems, Education Associate, Nursing, Nuclear Medicine Technology, RadiologicTechnology, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Accounting, Human Services, Media Technology and Paralegal Studies.
The College is home to initiatives not commonly associated with two-year institutions, such as the Center for Sustainable Energy, which promotes the use of renewable and efficient energy technologies in urban communities. The National Center for Educational Alliances (NCEA) is currently collaborating with South African Further Education and Training Colleges and universities to create linkages between these institutions. NCEA also coordinates the College’s international initiatives and the annual International Education Week.
The Center has also facilitated a campus wide effort to create BCC’s Center for Tolerance and Understanding. The Center for Teaching Excellence offers faculty development to promote student achievement and to stimulate discussions to keep the teaching and learning process vital and dynamic. Take a look at BCC’s website at www.bcc.cuny.edu