Virginia Tech Awarded $1 Million To Boost Diversity And Inclusion In STEM

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A medical institute awarded a Virginia school $1 million to foster diversity and inclusion in its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics departments, according to an announcement Wednesday.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded Virginia Tech $1 million to use for its Inclusive Excellence program, which focuses on funneling students who transferred from community college and first-generation students into STEM jobs.

“As we looked at which students were participating and which students were not, we identified several faculty and departments that were already making some bold steps to reform their pedagogy, or the curriculum in their department to promote diversity and inclusion,” said Jill Sible, the undergraduate education associate provost at Virginia Tech and director for the grant.

The school hopes to increase the amount of “inclusive teaching” and “inclusive curricula,” but did not elaborate on the nature of the changes in content.

“[Transfer and first-generation] students, in simple terms, just have different backgrounds, needs and expectations,” said Sarah Karpanty, a fish and wildlife conservation professor who will also help manage the grant. “It’s really explicitly being aware of that in the classroom, in your mentoring, and how you design the curriculum.”

“The trick will be to modify curricula so transfer students can complete science degrees in a timely manner and still learn material needed to be competitive in the job market,” explained Karpanty. (RELATED: Prof Receives Over $200,000 To Study Microaggressions)

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Virginia Tech for more specifics regarding plans for the grant, but received no comment in time for publication.

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