Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, February 7, 2011

Universities, community colleges unite to develop leaders in STEM subjects

Four of Michigan's top universities and nine community colleges are embarking on a newly expanded collaboration to accelerate statewide development of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

At a kick-off event Thursday at Lansing Community College, the institutions announced the reauthorization and expansion of the Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP).


President Mary Sue Coleman addresses attendees at an event for the Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. (Photo by Harley Seeley, Michigan State University College of Engineering)


"Our state and nation need all the talented college graduates we can produce. Just last week, President Obama said that for America to compete globally, our nation must 'out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.' LSAMP answers that challenge, and we look forward to continued success at colleges and universities across Michigan," said President Mary Sue Coleman, principal investigator on the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that helps fund the alliance.

Coleman was one of eight university and community college presidents in attendance at the kickoff event along with nearly 200 guests.

U-M, Michigan State, Western Michigan and Wayne State universities established the MI-LSAMP with support from the NSF. They committed to significantly increase the number of underrepresented minority students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

During MI-LSAMP's Phase I (2005–10), these STEM baccalaureate completions increased 28 percent year-to-year, and by nearly 50 percent in the 2008 academic year.

This year, nine of Michigan's top community colleges have joined the alliance. The MI-LSAMP community college partners are: Grand Rapids Community College; Kalamazoo Valley Community College; Kellogg Community College; Lake Michigan College; Lansing Community College; Macomb Community College; Muskegon Community College; Washtenaw Community College; and Wayne County Community College District.

MI-LSAMP Scholars capped off Thursday's celebration with a high-energy exhibit of student STEM projects, featuring members of the U-M Robotics Team and its robots, and members of the Solar Car Team with a model vehicle.

Also participating were eight students teams from Wayne State University; Western Michigan University; Michigan State University; Lansing Community College; and a combined team from Washtenaw Community College and Willow Run High School.

MI-LSAMP-based opportunities for students include a pre-first-year summer program to prepare for rigorous curricula as incoming freshmen; undergraduate research assistantships; and internships and cooperative education experiences. Going forward, these programs and initiatives will continue, along with active collaborations with the new community college members of the alliance.