Tuskegee, AL, United States
Tuskegee, AL, United States

Tuskegee University is a private, historically black university located in Tuskegee, Alabama, USA; established by Booker T. Washington. The campus has been designated as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark. Tuskegee University's campus is the only school in the United States to hold this distinction. Tuskegee University offers 40 bachelor's degree programs, 17 master's degree programs, a 5-year accredited professional degree program in architecture, 4 doctoral degree programs, and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. The university is home to over 3,100 students from the U.S. and 30 foreign countries. Tuskegee University is ranked among the 2015 Best 379 Colleges and Universities by the Princeton Review and 5th among the 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best HBCU's. The campus of Tuskegee University was designed by architect Robert R. Taylor, the first African American to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university is home to the Tuskegee Airmen and scientist George Washington Carver . Distinguished alumni include Academy Award and Grammy winner Lionel Richie, Olympic Gold Medalist Alice Coachman, Congressman Alexander N. Green, four-star General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., radio host Tom Joyner, National Book Award Winner Ralph Ellison, and Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson. Wikipedia.

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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 1.94M | Year: 2016

Tuskegee University is leading a team of Alabama institutions, which includes Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, Auburn University Montgomery, Southern Union State Junior College, and Lawson State Community College, with support from Oakland University to implement a collaborative S-STEM project titled Making to Advance Knowledge, Excellence, and Recognition in STEM (MAKERS). The MAKERS project will provide scholarships to up to 158 students majoring in the biological, physical, mathematical, geological, and computer and information sciences; engineering; and associated technology areas. The MAKERS team will implement and assess a comprehensive list of hierarchical, evidence-based interventions designed to facilitate transfer, increase persistence and retention, and prepare Scholars for graduation and future careers in STEM fields. The MAKERS S-STEM model is designed to attenuate the potential factors that decrease persistence of low-income students in STEM degree programs by integrating STEM enrichment, research, and peripheral activities. The nature of many of the MAKERS project components and the wide range of institutional contexts show promise for improving outcomes for students at other institutions with similar demographics while capitalizing on their existing resources. MAKERS hallmark intervention will be Learning by Making, which will involve interdisciplinary Scholar clusters identifying and investigating problems affecting their local communities, and applying their STEM knowledge to make a product that has the potential to solve those problems.

The major objectives of MAKERS are to: (1) increase student retention and graduation rates; (2) prepare students with the STEM academic foundation, professional skills and experiences needed to enter the STEM workforce or graduate school in STEM disciplines; and (3) investigate the MAKERS models impact on recruitment, retention, success, and graduation of students in the target population and majors. The MAKERS project is innovative because, rather than focusing solely on developing the students academic potential or restructuring institutional variables, it will empower students as active agents in their education by creating connections between their majors and the local community, mitigating potential inhibiting factors in the students social context. Three unique aspects of the project - immersion of scholars in the Learning by Making process; strong cross-institutional social and professional networks; and the use of online platforms for support and collaboration - have the potential to transform the learning process for these students, helping them develop a STEM identity, fostering agency, and persisting to degree completion. A team of evaluation experts will continuously assess its interventions using mixed methods and provide feedback to the investigators to identify new best practices that will be added to the extant knowledge base on broadening participation of low-income groups in STEM fields.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 299.99K | Year: 2016

Each year, a large number of students take pre-calculus in college, many of whom struggle to see the relevance of the content. Toward making mathematics learning more motivating and personally meaningful to students, this project will engage undergraduates in directly connecting pre-calculus to their personal lives through topics that they choose to examine. Project implementation and research activities will take place in sections of pre-calculus taught at Tuskegee University, Southern Union State Community College, and Chattahoochee Valley Community College, under the leadership of a multi-disciplinary team comprised of an education researcher, mathematicians, mathematics instructors, and a college statistics faculty member. Sections of pre-calculus at all three institutions will serve as implementation and comparison groups. Students in the implementation sections will use technology to investigate complex, realistic data and focus on the connection of key mathematical ideas to those data. The project team will study the implementation activities as a way to immerse students more fully in the mathematics, to strengthen the relevance of the mathematics to their lives, and to improve their views of mathematics, their mathematical understanding, and their achievement.

Using a quasi-experimental design with pre- and post-assessments, the project will address the following research questions: (1) Do students using mathematics tasks situated in personally authentic contexts exhibit more positive attitudes towards and beliefs about mathematics than students using teacher-selected contextual units and those not using unit projects? If so, to what extent? (2) Do students using mathematics tasks situated in personally authentic contexts exhibit greater intrinsic motivation to learn mathematics than students using teacher-selected contextual units and those not using unit projects? If so, to what extent? (3) Do students using mathematics tasks situated in personally authentic contexts perform better on standardized course final exams than students using teacher-selected contextual units and those not using unit projects? If so, to what extent? Are the course pass rates (% of students who complete the course that achieve an A, B, or C) in those courses higher? If so, to what extent? (4) Does the project work of students using mathematics tasks situated in personally authentic contexts show greater mathematical understanding in the form of valid connections made between mathematical and real-world representations compared to the project work of students using teacher-selected contextual units? If so, to what extent? This study will contribute to the knowledge base about ways to enhance students understanding and appreciation of content connections within mathematics, across disciplines, and to life outside of formal schooling.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 1.19M | Year: 2016

This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging in hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship experiences.

This project, based on the use of a Project Based Learning (PBL) environment with high school students, is a partnership between Tuskegee University, Auburn University, a rural and an urban school district in the historic Black Belt region of the state of Alabama, and the Alabama State Department of Education. The focus of the partnership is to recruit annually a cohort of thirty ethnically and racially diverse high school students from the partnering school districts for immersion in a STEM intensive PBL four-week STEM Summer Academy hosted by Tuskegee University. The Academy is designed to provide 30 rising 10th and 11th grade students annually (90 over the life of the three-year grant) with far-reaching technological experiences through the exciting exploration of aerial drones under a PBL framework. Students in each cohort will form a diverse group in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and residing in urban or rural areas. The key questions being addressed are: (1) What coherent sets of experiences effectively and efficiently support student competency (e.g., knowledge, skills), motivation and persistence for productive participation in the STEM-related workforce of today or in the future? (2) What roles might business and industry workforce members play in motivating students to become aware of, interested in, and prepared for careers in the STEM-related workforce? and (3) Given the shifting demographics reflected in our current classrooms and in our country what are effective and productive ways to ensure broadening participation by engaging diverse underrepresented populations in STEM programs and careers?

The goals of this project have been developed in collaboration with officials from the partner school districts, faculty at Tuskegee University and Auburn University and representatives from the Alabama State Department of Education. They are formulated to determine the impact of immersing students in technology experiences and special partnerships at the STEM Summer Academy based on their STEM interest, STEM knowledge, and awareness of the pathways needed to take for successful STEM careers. A mixed-method design with both qualitative and quantitative data will be used to examine the students motivation and attitude towards science in a PBL environment.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 299.88K | Year: 2016

Through this project, a new set of instructional tools for engineering graphics courses is being developed. Spatial visualization (SV) skill has been shown to be necessary to succeed in engineering; however, it is a difficult skill to master. This project will (1) develop a set of physical models and integrate them with SV learning in the classroom, and (2) develop and implement an online assistant environment that can be used at any time on mobile devices and computers. The investigators are developing a game-based classroom approach that combines the theories of game and puzzle-based learning and reasoning, active learning, and the use of tangible models for instruction.

The project is creating and testing the effectiveness of a promising way to teach spatial visualization using a game-based active learning approach. Students SV skills are hypothesized to improve through hands-on examination of objects that they construct. The online assistant will allow students to independently develop SV skills through immediate feedback. The gaming component of the project addresses student motivation. This work has potential for widespread reapplication in K-12 and other engineering schools. Outreach efforts will include classroom implementations in local area K-12 schools, and through two early engineering programs offered at Tuskegee University. In addition, workshops and webinars designed to train educators at these schools will enhance the classroom implementations.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 349.99K | Year: 2016

Researchers at Tuskegee University will leverage the results of prior research to develop a model of psychosocial and institutional structural factors that influence the retention of STEM students at HBCUs. The current project will expand the research by collecting additional data and including Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). More specifically, they will examine the interaction of the psychosocial and structural factors identified previously and continue to examine those combinations that are most likely to produce success in retaining students in the STEM pipeline at these institutions. The study has the potential to positively impact undergraduate STEM education at all institutions.

The researchers will use a three-phase mixed-methods approach involving phenomenological qualitative research, quantitative surveys, and quantitative analysis of secondary data to investigate four research questions: (1) What psychosocial factors appear to affect the retention of students in STEM disciplines at minority-serving institutions? In what ways are those effects manifested? (2) How do structural factors influence retention rates in STEM disciplines at minority-serving institutions? (3) What influence, if any, do psychosocial factors appear to have on the effectiveness of structural factors which are intended to support student retention in STEM disciplines? (4) What differences and similarities are there in the apparent influence of psychosocial and structural factors on STEM retention at institutions serving different minority populations? The new sample populations are expected to yield 16 focus groups with a total of 80-112 participants. Population samples will include current STEM students, administrators and staff, faculty, and graduates of STEM programs. The researchers propose to structural equation modeling for the quantitative data analysis and axial and selective coding for the qualitative analysis. Understanding the interplay of these influences and their effects on each other and on retention will allow the researchers to further refine the model and produce a clearer perspective about STEM programs at minority-serving institutions.

This project is supported by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Broadening Participation Research in Education track. This program track supports ideas to create and study new models and innovations in STEM teaching and learning, investigate the underlying issues affecting the differential participation and success rates of students from underrepresented groups, and produce knowledge to inform STEM education practices and interventions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 482.11K | Year: 2016

This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging in hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship experiences

This Tuskegee University ITEST project will use flight simulation as an active learning tool to motivate and engage 75 students in grades 7-8 in learning and reinforcing various math and science concepts. The project also involves training 15 middle school teachers to incorporate innovative, active, and experiential learning techniques while teaching STEM concepts. The project uses commercial-off-the-shelf flight simulation software that is low cost and has excellent fidelity of the physics of the phenomenon. The objectives of this project are: (a) to motivate and train middle school teachers to incorporate innovative, active, and experiential learning techniques while teaching STEM concepts; (b) to improve the overall ability of students in solving STEM problems; and, (c) to improve the attitudes of teachers and students towards teaching and learning STEM concepts.

The project team, consisting of faculty from mathematics, aerospace engineering, mathematics education and an instructional designer (consultant), will develop learning modules for 7th and 8th grade students based on the Alabama Course of Study and Next Generation Science Standards using a flight simulation environment. They will design and implement intervention strategies for increasing student engagement and subsequently their understanding of selected math and science concepts through three components: (1) a one-week professional development workshop for the math and science teachers; (2) a one-week summer camp for grade 7-8 students; and (3) the implementation of the approach by the teachers in their classrooms. The overall goal is to determine if an innovative learning approach supported by popular technology impact the learning of mathematics and science concepts. The research questions are: (a) Does a hands-on activity that is a physics-based simulation and not a twitch video game engage middle school students in learning math and science concepts? (b) Does a summer program such as proposed in this project enhance the self-efficacy of middle school students in math and science? (c) Are female students as engaged as male students in a flight simulator based learning environment and (d) Do math and science teachers of a rural school district accept and implement a technology mediated pedagogy such as the flight simulation-based approach? The evaluation plan will use a logic model to assess project activities. The intervention will be evaluated through several pre-post instruments that will include the assessment of math and science content knowledge during the summer program, their attitudes towards math and science, and self-efficacy.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EPSCOR OUTREACH | Award Amount: 323.45K | Year: 2016

Non-technical Description
This project will support a planning process to establish a Virtual Sponsored Research Office (VSRO). The concept of the VSRO is for it to be a shared resource to assist faculty and administrators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in preparing and submitting proposals to the NSF and other federal agencies and provide training in the appropriate policies and procedures for managing federal awards. HBCUs have struggled to improve their competitive research standing, in part due to the challenges faced by their administrators who are facing increased demands from both federal agencies and faculty investigators while lacking the critical infrastructure needed to keep up with the rising demands. The vision of the VSRO is to develop an innovative online platform to provide support services to HBCU institutional ?clients?. This service would address the needs of small and mid-size HBCUs that do not currently have adequate sponsored research capabilities.

Technical Description
The planning activity wwill solicit input from the community of HBCU researchers and administrators via a series of virtual meetings and in-person workshops. From these activities the project team will complete a comprehensive needs assessment for the participating institutions and then determine what combination of products and services would best meet these community needs. All aspects of proposal development and post-award management will be considered throughout the planning process, including but not limited to issues related to intellectual property and human subjects research. It is expected that this planning process will ultimately lead to the development of a proposal to implement the VSRO concept.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 185.95K | Year: 2017

Data loss, cybercrimes, and security breaches have posed significant threats to cyberspace, and many experts expect that the number and severity of cyber-attacks will increase. The protection and security of computing systems, critical infrastructure, and cyberspace are vital to nearly all aspects of our society. To secure cyberspace, the nation needs capable, well-trained, and responsive professionals and experts in the cybersecurity workforce. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), in collaboration with the Tuskegee University (TU), launches a new Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to graduate highly capable and talented cybersecurity professionals with Masters degrees. Both UTC and TU host a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education/Cyber Defense (CAE IA/CD), designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. As such, both institutions are well equipped to prepare SFS scholars for cybersecurity careers in local, state, and federal governments.

The proposed new SFS program recruits exceptional students through academic and community outreach initiatives. Strategies include recruiting from the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) team, Honor College, and outreaching to other institutions. The SFS scholars will be selected based on a holistic consideration of credential ranking and group diversity. The SFS program will implement cohort programs, and students will gain common cohort experiences including: taking common curriculum in each cohort; attending monthly forums or field trips; conducting collaborative research; participating in security conferences; joining CCDC; and conducting K-12 outreach. These strong and well-designed academic programs, combined with high-quality student services, and paired with a network of industry partnerships, will help prepare quality professionals in cybersecurity. The SFS program will also assist scholars transition into government through mentorship and career planning efforts. This project will strengthen the cybersecurity workforce by graduating well-trained cybersecurity professionals to defend the cyber-infrastructure, critical infrastructure, citizen privacy, and daily activities in cyberspace. The partnership between UTC and TU (a strong HBCU school) will help diversify the cybersecurity workforce. The knowledge and experiences gained through this program will be disseminated in regional and national conferences, workshops, and journals to inspire collaboration among institutions, government, and industry in creating and training highly capable cybersecurity professionals. Through outreach to local communities and K-12 schools, including those with large populations of underrepresented groups in computing, this project will promote awareness of the cybersecurity issues that the nation faces as well as disseminate basic knowledge about information security.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 299.91K | Year: 2016

Research Initiation Awards provide support for junior and mid-career faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are building new research programs or redirecting and rebuilding existing research programs. It is expected that the award helps to further the faculty members research capability and effectiveness, improves research and teaching at his home institution, and involves undergraduate students in research experiences. The award to Tuskegee University has potential broader impact in a number of areas. The project seeks to investigate methods of mapping the electromagnetic field distribution of pico/nano/micro satellites (PNMSats) and aid in the refinement of their orbit determination and control capabilities. Undergraduate aerospace engineering students will gain research experiences by working on the project.

The overall research goal is to develop a better understanding of the magnetic activity of PNMSats and investigate methods of modeling the magnetic map of such satellites. A Magnet Coil Test Facility, designed around a 3-axes Helmholtz coil (HHC) cage and precision fluxgate magnetometers, will be used for carrying out the research. The PNMSat specimens will be subject to relevant on-orbit control modes inside the HHC cage. Using the magnetometer measurements taken during the emulation of these control modes, a harmonic understanding of the magnetic activity will be investigated. The research will aid in the refinement of the various subsystems of a PNMSat - particularly the operation of attitude determination and control systems, as well as electro-magnetically sensitive instrumentation. It will further aid in designing magnetic booms for PNMSats. This research is a stepping stone to founding a PNMSat program at Tuskegee University and provides an opportunity for collaboration with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STEM + Computing (STEM+C) Part | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2016

Tuskegee University is implementing the TU CS10K Project in partnership with Auburn University, the University of Alabama, A+ College Ready, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Black Belt Commission, the Exploring Computer Science Program, the Tuskegee University Computer Science Advisory Board, and 19 school districts in the 17 counties that traditionally constitute the historic Black Belt region of the state of Alabama. Computing impacts almost all aspects of our daily lives and its important that students get the opportunity to study computer science (CS) through formal course work in order to excite them about studies and career opportunities in CS. Yet, the vast majority of high school students in Alabama attend schools that do not offer rigorous CS curriculum. To address this, the TU CS10K Project aims to develop, implement, study and evaluate an ambitious project to establish the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curricula in all 43 high schools of the historic Alabama Black Belt.

The TU-CS 10K Project will prepare 60 in-service teachers for ECS instruction in partnering high schools using the ECS model of teacher professional development (PD): a one-week comprehensive Summer Institute followed by face-to-face meetings during the school year, monthly virtual Google Hangouts, an online community of practice, and a follow-on Summer Institute, all of which are designed to prepare teachers for ECS course instruction, focusing both on content and instructional strategies. The PD will be provided by endorsed ECS PD facilitators and assisted by the PIs and CS graduate students; implementation support will be delivered to classroom teachers by teacher Professional Learning Communities. Additionally, recruitment and awareness activities will be carried-out to motivate high school students to take ECS, with the aim of involving 1,500 racially and ethnically diverse male and female 9th and 10th graders. The projects research agenda will advance knowledge in K-12 CS education in high-needs settings, and a rigorous evaluation plan will provide continuous guidance to the PIs to ensure that the project is on track to meet its goals and objectives.

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