UW Receives $170,000 Grant for Capacity-Building Institute

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The University of Washington (UW) has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF grant #HRD-0227995) to support the AccessSTEM Capacity-Building Institute (CBI) to promote the participation of people with disabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This grant is a supplement to the existing Northwest Alliance for Access to STEM (NSF Cooperative Agreement #HRD0227995). The lead agency is the UW's DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) Center, a collaboration of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Education, and Computing & Communications.

AccessSTEM CBI partners include New Mexico State University, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Wisconsin, that all have regional alliances similar to the AccessSTEM alliance hosted by DO-IT (http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/) to increase the representation of individuals with disabilities in STEM careers. Also included in the CBI will be leaders of NSF-funded projects that serve to broaden the participation of women and racial/ethnic minorities in STEM fields. The AccessSTEM CBI will provide a forum for leaders to to compare access challenges, share successful practices, develop collaborations, and otherwise increase their capacity to serve students with disabilities who are also members of other underrepresented groups.

Project staff will:

  1. Conduct a Capacity-Building Institute January 10-12, 2007, in Seattle.
  2. Share the results of the CBI with other programs that serve underrepresented groups in STEM through proceedings, articles in journals and in the existing AccessSTEM knowledge base at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/kb.html, and conference presentations.
  3. Offer seed grants to increase diversity within the funded activities of groups participating in the CBI.
  4. Provide a vehicle for ongoing communication on issues of mutual concern.
  5. Help programs for women and racial/ethnic minorities make their programs more accessible (e.g., assist in the design of an accessible websites, recruit speakers with disabilities).

The AccessSTEM CBI, by increasing collaboration between programs who serve different underrepresented groups, will broaden the participation of racial/ethnic minorities, females, and students with disabilities in STEM. Wide dissemination of project products and ongoing communication of participants will maximize the impact of the activity.