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A Research-Based Inter-institutional Collaboration to Diversify the Biomedical Workforce SUBMITTED BY JEANNE ANDREOLI ON BEHALF OF THE REBUILDETROIT STEERING COMMITTEE

Educational opportunities can fuel the academic renaissance of Detroit. Three institutions of higher education in Detroit have come together in a collaboration to open new opportunities for Detroit students. Research Enhancement for BUILDing Detroit (ReBUILDetroit) involves faculty, staff and students from Marygrove College (MG), University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), and Wayne State University (WSU). With the support of a $21.4 M grant from the National Institutes of Health, the Consortium is implementing innovative, evidenced-based, and cutting-edge programming to engage undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in biomedical research. The program combines a unique model of student preparation and rigorous research opportunities in a nurturing learning community with crossinstitutional undergraduate research training opportunities. The comprehensive student preparation model includes recruiting students using a holistic evaluation of their qualifications and providing them with a series of intense, guiding steps for their acclimation into a biomedical research mindset. Student success support includes intentional and intrusive mentoring, financial support, close faculty engagement and mentoring, ongoing workshops to overcome academic and non-academic barriers, and consortium-wide activities. Through this program, students can develop the



self-confidence, self-efficacy and sense of belonging necessary to persist to graduation and enter biomedical careers. Our students (ReBUILDetroit Scholars) enter a unique Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) that brings a cohort of students together as pre-freshmen for a rigorous 7-week summer experience to help them transition to college, both socially and mentally. Scholars attend classes and workshops at their home institution to strengthen their academic skills and acclimate themselves to biomedical research fields. More importantly, they meet faculty, staff and peer mentors and bond through inter-institutional activities that help them coalesce into a supportive community of scholars, critical to student intellectual development and important for the student’s sense of belonging. It is during this period, that they also learn more detail about their selected biomedical discipline and build their identity as scientists. Based on the recommendations from the PCAST report Engage to Excel and the Vision and Change movement, the Consortium is restructuring their curricula to incorporate authentic research experiences in the foundational courses and adopt the Research Coordination Network (RCN) model in target courses (biology, chemistry, social sciences) across all three institutions so that the students contribute to a common research project in each discipline. These research-focused courses are academically intensive and introduce scholars to the concept of what research is and what it entails, including struggling with occasional failure and the uncertainty inherent to authentic research questions. Students collect data related to faculty research projects as part of these courses and present their findings in poster

BioMatters Fall 2016  

Building STEM Talent in Michigan

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