Integrating and Leveraging Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) Networks to Facilitate the Development of Underrepresented Minorities in IOS Career Paths
This five-year project tested innovative strategies and provided unique insights with regard to recruitment and retention of undergraduate students from
underrepresented minority (URM) groups into integrative organismal systems (IOS) research and career paths. Focusing on such key transitions as two-year student to undergraduate researcher to graduate student to postdoctoral scholar/faculty appointment, the project partnered three organizations: The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), the Leadership Alliance Program (TLA), and the American Physiological Society (APS). Project goals and activities included the following:
- Building a diverse community of faculty and administrators committed to, and educated in, effective practices in recruiting and retaining individuals from URM groups in IOS fields (specific activities included design and multiyear implementation of CUR’s “Broadening Participation in Undergraduate Research” faculty/administrator professional development institute, and a multiyear institute for postdoctoral scholars presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS);
- Increasing interest in and awareness of IOS careers among URM undergraduates and graduate students (specific activities included multiple special sessions at CUR’s annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), webinars on career planning and/or diversity and inclusion practices, TLA-led URM student summer research and travel support to disciplinary meetings);
- Enhancing and expanding professional development training for underrepresented minorities in IOS research fields by leveraging the professional expertise of CUR, TLA, and APS (specific activities included collaborative implementation of faculty and student professional development, and project assessment and dissemination activities); and
- Evaluating program outcomes and disseminating effective practices (activities included approximately 20 presentations at professional meetings, three CUR webinars on diversity and inclusion practices, an edited volume on navigating career transitions, formative evaluation of project goals and activities, and longitudinal evaluation of CUR’s broadening participation institute for faculty and administrators).
Intellectual Merit was evidenced through better understanding of effective practices for recruitment and retention of URM STEM scholars navigating critical career junctures. Primary products relating to intellectual merit included the 2018 CUR publication Mentoring through the Transitions: Voices on the Verge (ed. Mary L. Crowe and Bessie Guerrant, indexed in ERIC), numerous presentations, and professional development institutes. In addition, the original IOS research conducted by students participating in TLA programs advanced disciplinary knowledge. Broader Impacts were created through interorganizational partnerships, and CUR’s postgrant continuation and expansion of faculty and student-centered programs and services focused on diversity and inclusion practices in undergraduate research.
The Council on Undergraduate Research gratefully acknowledges support of the National Science Foundation through the NSF BIO IOS-BP 12-49925 grant.