Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate-Transformation




Dr. B.K. Robertson, Professor of Microbiology and Director for Graduate Programs in the biological sciences and co-PIs Dr. Mamie Coats, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Dr. Alain Waffo, Associate Professor of Biology have recently been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the STEM Professoriate. The project entitled “Collaborative Research: The Tuskegee Alliance to Develop, Implement and Study a Virtual Graduate Education Model for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM,” is a multi-institutional project led by Tuskegee University in collaboration with Alabama State University and Auburn University.

“NSF’s investment in the Tuskegee Alliance to forge Pathways to STEM Academic Careers (T-PAC) project reflects NSF’s commitment to broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” said NSF program director Mark Leddy, who leads the foundation’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. The project will utilize a unique set of interventions that will be developed by T-PAC and investigated for their effectiveness.

The T-PAC team consists of a diverse mix of faculty members with expertise in STEM areas, education and social sciences, who will work on the development, implementation and study of the proposed virtual graduate education model. Using online applications and social media, this model will be used to educate and mentor graduate students to support their advancement. T-PAC is a part of six other active collaborative alliances in the country.  

‘The AGEP Transformation project draws on the expertise of three Alabama universities with a strong record of federally funded grants to advance a new STEM education model for underrepresented minorities,” Leddy said. “It is exciting that T-PAC will include online professional development components which will contribute to the model development and implementation and which will ultimately lead toward increasing the diversity of academe and the broader STEM workforce.