HSI Implementation and Evaluation Project: Strengthening Teaching and Advancing Research Partnerships to Reinforce the STEM Workforce

Project: Research project

Project Details


With support from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), this project from the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla aims to understand factors that improve STEM undergraduate education and help Hispanic students of Puerto Rico succeed in their STEM courses of study. It will do so by helping faculty members develop and implement evidence-based teaching practices to improve student learning and by providing opportunities for students to engage in the high impact practices of undergraduate research experiences and internships. Innovative aspects of this project are the collaborations with other federal agencies (e.g. the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration) and Pennsylvania State University, a major research-intensive university. The project will answer the research questions: (i) What evidence-based active learning strategies and interventions are successful at HSIs? (ii) What institutional programs lead to increased retention and graduation rates for students majoring in STEM fields?

Two goals guide the Strengthening Teaching and Advancing Research Partnerships(STARp) project. First is to implement new active learning pedagogies in gatekeeper STEM courses to increase the retention of students in STEM majors. Second is to involve students in undergraduate research and citizen science projects to increase their persistence in STEM education and pursuit of STEM career paths. The STARp project will use evidence-based approaches that have been shown to improve student success of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM. This project will improve undergraduate education by using the flipped classroom approach where the professor delivers course content outside the classroom and then engages students in live problem-solving during class time. In addition, the STARp project will provide experiential opportunities for research and internships to improve students' transition to graduate programs and the STEM workforce. It will also target the critical second-to-third year transition through citizen science projects in which undergraduate students train and lead high school students in their creation of a community-based research project. The five-year project will identify factors that develop student interest to continue postgraduate studies and/or integration into the STEM workforce. A mixed methods research approach will be used to assess the impact of each intervention. The strategies employed by the STARp project are aimed to broaden representation in the STEM fields. The results are expected to be used as models for other Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) seeking to overcome obstacles to undergraduate student success in STEM. The project's best strategies, activities, and success will be shared in publications, web pages, and social media. The knowledge generated by the STARp project has the potential to contribute to a diversified STEM Workforce. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education, broaden participation in STEM, and build capacity at HSIs. Achieving these aims, given the diverse nature and context of HSIs, requires innovative approaches that incentivize institutional and community transformation and promote fundamental research (i) on engaged student learning, (ii) about what it takes to diversify and increase participation in STEM effectively, and (iii) that improves our understanding of how to build institutional capacity. Projects supported by the HSI Program will also draw from these approaches to generate new knowledge on how to achieve these aims.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date4/1/223/31/27


  • National Science Foundation: $800,000.00


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