IU is very pleased to participate in the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, the goal of which is to increase the number of under-represented minorities in the U.S. professoriate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Interestingly, under-represented minority representation in the professoriate in other areas is much closer to what would be expected from national census figures than in the “STEM” fields. Our partners in this endeavor are Purdue University and Northwestern University in Chicago; together we form the “Midwest Crossroads AGEP Alliance.”
Since the program is NSF-sponsored, there is some money behind our activity. We can help with support stipends, travel to conferences, social functions and other activities that have a probability of helping to attain the goal. We have elected to be very flexible in the way we approach funding. We will handle requests on a case-by-case basis, rather than initiate board programs that might actually be helpful only to a few.
My personal commitment to this is very real, dating at least to my father’s volunteering as a federal observer of voting in Mississippi shortly after the voting rights act was passed in 1964. It concerns me that we have not met goals of representation in the professoriate (and elsewhere) some 40 years later. Clearly, there is opportunity for those who choose to pursue it. We understand that the heterogeneous nature of K-12 education in the U.S. places some students at a distinct disadvantage when entering undergraduate studies. We don’t expect that undergraduate study, even at strong universities, can completely make up the early education difference. We are ready to do what we need to do to help those who aspire to the professoriate in STEM disciplines attain their goal. If you can tell us what you think is needed, we will do all we can to make it happen.
We have 59 AGEP faculty in 14 departments eager to work with you. Each has pledged to enter and graduate at least one under-represented minority Ph.D. student over the next decade and help that individual go on to a strong academic career. I sincerely hope that we can help you reach that goal, if it is yours as well.
Former Dean of the University Graduate School