The goal of the HHMI program is to promote institutional change that supports the engagement and success of all students, especially those populations that have been historically underrepresented and underserved in the science disciplines.

The project began last year with welcoming a cohort of three Inclusive Excellence Program departments – Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, the School of Neuroscience in the College of Science, and Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Faculty from all three departments formed a learning community where they studied how to make their teaching practices more inclusive for students from diverse backgrounds, including transfer, low income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.

“As a first-generation college graduate and a member of the Jicarilla Apache tribe, I understand the difficulties many students face when coming to a large university,” said Mike Bowers, assistant professor of neuroscience and project co-investigator.

In response to this challenge, the School of Neuroscience is expanding a seminar course to address issues of well-being and career options for their students. They have also established a mentoring program that pairs students who are underrepresented and underserved in the sciences with faculty members from those same identities, and they are engaging their faculty in pedagogical training.

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