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20 Institutions Join AAC&U Initiative to Increase STEM Diversity

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has selected 20 institutions for a new initiative called TIDES: Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM. According to a press release, the initiative "will support curriculum and faculty development activities for these campuses to develop models for broader institutional change for the advancement of evidence-based and culturally competent teaching in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), particularly in the computer and information science domains."

The group of participating institutions comprises 14 full awardees, five honorable mentions and one university designated as noteworthy, ranging from small colleges such as Bryn Mawr to large universities like California State University, Northridge. The TIDES schools were selected via a two-tiered peer review process that included reviewers from a range of disciplines, both STEM and non-STEM. Full awardees will each receive up to $300,000 for work completed over the next three years, funded by a $4.9 million grant to AAC&U from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Selection criteria included:

  • High level of institutional readiness;
  • Demonstrated commitment to sustaining project activities;
  • Targeted focus on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the undergraduate computer/information science disciplines; and
  • Innovation in linking computer/information sciences with other STEM and non-STEM courses.

Over the next three years of the initiative, TIDES and its awardee institutions will:

  • Provide STEM faculty with opportunities to become proficient in incorporating culturally sensitive pedagogies into STEM courses;
  • Develop interdisciplinary courses that include the computer/information science disciplines; and
  • Engage in course implementation that is grounded in evidence-based pedagogies that are culturally sensitive.

For example, faculty at North Carolina's Fayetteville State University are leading an effort to improve retention, persistence and graduation of women and underrepresented minority students in computer and information sciences and mathematics, in a project titled "Strengthening Computer and Information Sciences Engagement and Learning (SCISEL) Program."

"It is critically important for higher education to find ways to increase success in STEM fields for both women and all students from underserved communities," said AAC&U president Carol Geary Schneider, in a press release. "AAC&U is honored to have this opportunity to build on its historic commitment to equity and excellence through the TIDES initiative."

"We are both inspired and excited to partner with this diverse set of institutions and our colleagues at the Helmsley Charitable Trust to revolutionize not only what we teach at the undergraduate level, but also how we teach STEM content to an increasingly diverse student population," said Kelly Mack, AAC&U's vice president for undergraduate STEM education and executive director of Project Kaleidoscope (AAC&U's STEM higher education reform center), in a prepared statement.

The full list of selected institutions is as follows:
Bryn Mawr College (Awardee)
California State University, Northridge (Awardee)
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Awardee)
Fayetteville State University (Awardee)
Howard University (Awardee)
Lawrence Technological University (Awardee)
Montgomery College (Awardee)
Morgan State University (Awardee)
Salish Kootenai College (Awardee)
Smith College (Awardee)
University of Dayton (Awardee)
University of Puerto Rico-Humacao (Awardee)
Westminster College (Awardee)
Wright State University (Awardee)
Connecticut College (Honorable Mention)
Knox College (Honorable Mention)
Ohio Northern University (Honorable Mention)
Pitzer College (Honorable Mention)
Queens College CUNY (Honorable Mention)
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (Noteworthy)

For more information about the TIDES project, head to the AAC&U site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at

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