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An e-mail I wrote to a colleague in the White House

I wanted to take this opportunity to write to you about my concerns about the loss of two National Science Foundation programs Tribal Colleges and University Program (TCUP) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU UP) I am probably one of the few people you know who has works in both Harlem, NY and Harlem, MT. Our work at Campbell-Kibler Associates on broadening participation includes HBCUs and Tribal colleges as well as a number of research one institutions. In many ways our work with these different groups has given me a somewhat unique perspective on broadening participation.

In so many ways there is an unequal playing field for HBCUs and Tribal colleges. They have few resources, little or no endowments, limited infrastructure and faculty with very large teaching loads with little time, and in many cases, little inclination to do research. Yet in spite of that, HBCUs are major producers of African American STEM graduates and Tribal colleges produce the Native students who go on to STEM degrees in the Natural Sciences. The resources that HBCU UP and TCUP provide these colleges have had a major impact on strengthening their STEM programs and producing STEM graduates.

While these colleges may out-produce other colleges and universities when it comes to broadening participation, that is not the case when it comes to the production of proposals. They just donít have the expertise, personnel or heck, the reputation. At this point a grants competition in which say Fort Belknap College and Johnson C . Smith University compete with MIT or even Cal State LA, is not a fair completion.

TCUP and HBCU UP are in great part about capacity building and Iíve been excited to see the progress that is being made. Indeed in some areas these schools can hold their own. However in other areas they still need help. While this wonít always be the case, currently TCUP and HBCU UP are essential tools to help HBCUs and Tribal colleges build the capacity they need to be able to in the future be competitive with any other institution.

Anything you can do to help would be much appreciated.

And anything you all can do to help would be great as well. One thing that comes to mind is to go here and comment on NSF Comprehensive Broadening Participation of Undergraduates in STEM (CBP-US) Draft Concept Paper for Community Review (comments are due by 8/1/2010). And I'm sure you can think of other things to do as well.


Hi, Pat.

Have the programs already been dissolved or are they up for consideration?


They are zero budgeted for FY 11 but some in Congress are concerned, especially Texas Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. To quote Yogi Berra "it ain't over till it's over". But while it ain't over; it's getting close.

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