Spotlight on Innovation: How Hampton University Plans to Increase STEM Retention and Completion through Course Redesign and Engagement

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How do you increase the number of underrepresented minority students attaining STEM degrees? Hampton University has a holistic approach.


The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 24 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions

Hampton University has set a specific goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who graduate with STEM degrees, and Hampton is looking to address several obstacles to degree completion for minority students, including access, affordability, and engagement.

Hampton intends use its $3.5 million First in the World grant to identify students who have declared a STEM major and engage them with a number of activities designed to boost success and completion. The project includes partnerships with several other organizations to facilitate internships and other opportunities for STEM majors.

To learn more, we reached out to Dr. Ira Walker, project director of the grant and associate professor in mathematics, who told us the project will address these five primary objectives:

  • Increasing the completion rate of students in STEM programs
  • Improving the retention rate of students in STEM programs through a variety of pedagogical strategies and engagement tools
  • Increasing affordability of STEM education for students
  • Increasing the number of entering students who enroll in STEM programs
  • Improving the overall academic performance of students in STEM programs

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