Howard University, the University of Florida, the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Miami, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have established the Atlantic Coast Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (AC-SBE) Alliance with a grant of up to $300,000 each from the National Science Foundation. The alliance will work to increase by 25 percent the number of underrepresented minority Ph.D. recipients in SBE fields who will enter the professoriate.
NATIONAL LEADERS IN PRODUCING URM PH.D. RECIPIENTS IN DISCIPLINES
The five participating schools in the Alliance are already among the national leaders in producing underrepresented minority (URM) Ph.D. recipients in SBE disciplines. With the exception of Howard University (HU), the enrollments of URM Ph.D. SBE students are still disproportionately small. Indeed, when the national figures are examined, the need to address the disproportionate production of URM doctoral recipients in SBE becomes clear: of the total 6,777 Ph.D. recipients in SBE for 2003, only 655 or 9.7 percent was African American, Hispanic, or Native American. Yet, these groups comprise 28 percent of the U.S. population. The AC-SBE Alliance will help increase the numbers of underrepresented minority Ph.D. recipients that these schools produce.
BUILDING ON THE AGEP FRAMEWORK
A unique feature of the AC-SBE alliance is that four of the five schools are participants in the NSF-funded Alliance for Graduate Education for the Professoriate (AGEP) program. AGEP focuses on increasing the numbers of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Significantly, each AGEP school already has alliances with at least two other institutions. The relationships that were established through AGEP will facilitate the inclusion of more SBE programs at additional schools.
A UNIQUE AND COLLECTIVE CONTRIBUTION
The AC-SBE Alliance schools are committed to unique as well as collective activities that will increase the number of URM doctoral students in SBE programs. Their collaborative efforts will serve as a model that other SBE graduate programs might employ to broaden the needed participation of URM in SBE fields.