New York’s Hartwick College has received a $500,000 grant to expand its capacity for providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities for all students, particularly those belonging to historically excluded groups.

The grant, which was awarded by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), is designed “to affect a campus culture change, and foster equity in students’ STEM experiences and outcomes.”

“At Hartwick College, inclusion and excellence are core values that help ensure we transform the lives of all of our students and give them high-quality academic, social and professional tools to make a positive impact on our diverse, multi-cultural and global society,” said Hartwick College President Darren Reisberg.

“I am so grateful to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for incentivizing the prioritization of inclusive teaching and learning practices across the STEM disciplines – and am so proud of our tremendous Hartwick College STEM faculty for taking full advantage of this opportunity to live out Hartwick’s mission by working to further instill a culture of inclusion and belonging, not just in the STEM fields, but across our entire campus,” he said.

In a press release, Hartwick College explained the grant funding is part of HHMI’s Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative. As part of initiative, colleges and universities selected for the grant are divided into seven Learning Community Clusters (LCCs), with approximately 15 institutions belonging to each LCC.

Hartwick College belongs to LCC3, which is focused on helping institutions shift from deficit- to achievement-oriented thinking and practices through five overlapping areas of activity: continuing education, inclusive curricula, student empowerment, inclusive collaboration, and broader approaches to institutional transformation.

The college further explained that the Hartwick Inclusive Excellence 3 team is composed of faculty from the biology, chemistry, math, and physics departments, and representatives of the offices of College Advancement and Academic Affairs. With the funding, the college will focus on strengthening student belonging by amplifying student voices, and building support for instructors to shift to practices and policies that create equitable learning environments for all students.

Initiatives to be forwarded or developed under the grant include:

  • “Empowering student-led STEM clubs to promote inclusivity.
  • Creating a student advisory panel to provide input and feedback, and to collaborate on the creation of class and laboratory activities and assignments.
  • Building a program to develop STEM Peer Mentors to students enrolled in introductory STEM courses.
  • Professional development for faculty to modify introductory science curricula, evaluation procedures, and/or modes of instruction across multiple STEM courses.
  • Development of new courses on inclusivity in science.”

“We are so pleased to be part of this innovative opportunity with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Laurel Bongiorno. “This is such important work in the higher education community and right here at Hartwick College. We are ready to learn and collaborate.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs