AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 19 Focus on Undergraduate Astronomy
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[19.01] Building Space Science Capabilities at Minority Universities—the First Three Years

P.J. Sakimoto, J.D. Rosendhal, L.P. Cooper, E.M. Cohen (NASA Headquarters)

This poster will report outcomes and lessons learned from the first three years of NASA’s Minority University and College Education and Research Partnership Initiative (MUCERPI) in Space Science—a consorted effort to build space science capabilities at minority institutions. Under this initiative, 15 minority institutions, including six Historically Black Colleges or Universities, three Hispanic Serving Institutions, three Tribal Colleges, and three minority-predominant institutions are now completing 3-year projects that were awarded as a result of the first MUCERPI solicitation, conducted in the year 2000.

A preliminary analysis of outcomes self-reported by the grantees indicates that the MUCERPI program is succeeding in enhancing the ability of minority institutions to offer opportunities in space science to their students and to the communities they serve. Collectively, the grantees are engaged in research collaborations with 10 NASA space science missions or suborbital projects and in more than 50 working partnerships with major space science research groups. In academic programs, they have established on their campuses 25 new or redirected space science faculty positions, 11 new or revised space science degree programs, and 67 new or revised space science courses with a total enrollment to date of over 1,750 students. They are also engaged in a wide variety of teacher training, precollege outreach, and public outreach programs.

From the results to date, it is clear that vibrant academic and research programs in astronomy and space science can be built at minority institutions provided that sponsoring Agencies offer serious opportunities to do so. The sponsoring Agencies need to play an active role in providing guidance and in engaging their usual cadre of sponsored researchers to serve as active partners in collaborations with interested minority institutions. Merely acting as a passive provider of funds is not enough to make a significant difference.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: philip.j.sakimoto@nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.