LUBBOCK, TX - When it comes to outreach in teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to ethnic minorities, Texas Tech University recently made the top 10 in a Forbes.com survey of the “Best Colleges for Women and Minorities in STEM.”
The survey covered women and minorities because these groups typically do not receive help for success from institutes of higher education, the article stated.
Texas Tech ranked No. 7 out of 20 institutions ranked for minority outreach, beating Texas A&M, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which stood at No. 14 and No. 18 respectively.
“STEM has become a major priority for Texas Tech because it’s a major national issue,” said Lawrence Schovanec, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “To be competitive in today’s technological society, we, as a state and a nation, must be strong in science and math. There’s evidence to support we’ve been losing our competitive edge in these fields, and there’s a lack of people studying math and science. So, we’re trying to address those problems.”
In recent years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has approved six STEM proposals from Texas Tech faculty for about $12.87 million in total funding, Schovanec said.
“Along with NSF-funded STEM initiatives, the university also has additional programs funded by other agencies, such as $2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health programs in physics and environmental sciences, and $3 million from the Greater Texas Foundation to fund teacher preparation in math and science,” he said.
The Texas Tech T-STEM Center, a separate entity housing three programs that have demonstrated positive impact on K-12 STEM education, provides curriculum, professional development and recruitment for teachers. The center, started in 2006, has nearly $2.7 million in funding.
Additional STEM programs are funded by agencies including the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Workforce Commission.