Current Projects

HBCUs as Leaders and Teachers in STEM Education

Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania (Grant award: $1,500,000)

Sponsored by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the goal of this research project is to elevate the role and approach of HBCUs in STEM education.  We will uncover the approaches to learning that put HBCUs out in front with regard to STEM education so that all colleges and universities can use these approaches.  We will also establish HBCUs as leaders in STEM on a national scale.  More specifically, our objectives are to: 1.) Identify, document, and communicate efficient, effective, and scalable models of success in STEM education at HBCUs; 2.) Improve the capacity of HBCUs to strengthen current models of success in STEM education and to develop additional approaches; 3.) Strategically disseminate the findings not only to HBCUs, but also to all colleges and universities, funders, media outlets, scholars and policymakers; 4.) Build alliances across HBCUs and majority institutions to improve STEM capacity among African Americans and other under-represented students.

Understanding Teacher Education at Minority Serving Institutions and its Impact on Local Communities

Marybeth Gasman and Andrés Castro Samayoa, University of Pennsylvania (Grant award: $750,000)

Through the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this project examines teacher education efforts at Minority Serving Institutions. Institutions of higher education play a vital role in K-12 education by inspiring, instructing, and certifying the future teachers and leaders/administrators of the nation's schools and school systems. As the demographic composition of the K-12 public schools continues to reflect the nation's racially diverse population, examining and strengthening the role that MSIs play in producing the future minority teachers of our nation becomes an increasing national imperative. We will answer the following questions through this research project: What is the current landscape of teacher education at MSIs? Where do teachers emerging from MSIs serve? How can MSIs tailor their curricula to prepare future teachers for new state standards?  

Understanding Ph.D. Pipelines for Latino/as: The Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions

Marybeth Gasman and Andrés Castro Samayoa, University of Pennsylvania (Grant Award: $100,000)

With this research project, we research the institutional characteristics at Hispanic Serving Institutions that encourage Latinos/as to pursue Ph.D.s, as well as contemporary practices at highly selective research institutions that enable Latinos/as to persist through completion and pursue careers in the professoriate. Through this grant, we aim to examine the institutional conditions enabling the promotion of Latino/as entering the professoriate. We seek this through a two-pronged approach: (a) surveying the types of supports undergraduates receive at Hispanic Serving Institutions to enter the Ph.D. pipeline in the humanities and humanistic social sciences; (b) understanding current forms of outreach and support for Latino/as enrolled at highly selective Ph.D. programs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. This project is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Marybeth Gasman (University of Pennsylvania) and Clif Conrad (University of Wisconsin-Madison) (Grant Award: 2,000,000)

12 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) were selected to participate in the three-year national “Models of Success” study sponsored by Lumina Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and USA Funds. Each of the twelve institutions selected has identified “success stories” of programs and/or practices at their institutions that have made significant contributions to student retention, student learning, and student degree attainment.

With the overarching aim of portraying and communicating these success stories in the literature, the media, and across our colleges and universities, the researchers—Professor Marybeth Gasman at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor Clifton Conrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—have conducted campus visits to each of the 12 institutions. Of the twelve MSIs selected, three are Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), three are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), three are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and three are Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). In addition to participating in the study, each institution received a grant for $50,000 to build infrastructure and capacity on their campus. (Read more)


Yvonne Paterson and Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania (Grant Award: $4,600,000)

Promoting Diversity in Biomedical Research through Supporting Biomedical Post-doc Teacher and Research Training at Minority Serving Institutions (funded by National Institutes of Health -- $4.6 million). Funded by the National Institute of Health, this project trains post docs of color in the areas of research and prepares them to teach at Minority Serving Institutions.  Currently, MSIs have lower numbers faculty of color teaching in their science programs because the pipeline for Ph.D.s of color is less than plentiful. (Read More)