Community College Research Initiatives

STEM student success | Working together to improve outcomes

Do you want to support low-income STEM students in your region? Do you want to help STEM students successfully transfer from 2-year to 4-year institutions and complete their baccalaureate degrees? Do you want to help your students complete degrees that lead to living-wage jobs and fill local workforce needs? Have you had challenges making headway in these areas due to a lack of time, resources, or expertise? The STEM Transfer Partnerships project can help. We are providing the structure, support, and funding for 10 teams to carve out protected time to collaborate with colleagues and focus specifically on these issues. In addition, teams will benefit from being part of a larger community of practice working toward similar goals, and will be coached and supported by CCRI staff who bring years of experience and expertise in STEM education, transfer partnerships, data collection and analysis, organizational change, and other relevant topics.

STEM students have a complex path to travel on their way to a baccalaureate degree. That path becomes even more complicated when moving between institutions. Transfer partnerships are intentional, strategic relationships created to improve transfer student outcomes. This project seeks to leverage the power of transfer partnerships to drive institutional changes that promote greater access and success for low-income students pursuing STEM baccalaureate degrees. Effective STEM transfer partnerships have the potential to remove structural barriers that prevent the persistence and completion of low-income students in STEM degree programs. This new project involves institutional pairs working together to target the structural inequities and collaborating to solve them. This work will happen within a community of practice, to allow for knowledge development and transfer within and between those institutions, and also to share findings throughout the state.

The application period is September 30th, 2021 – December 30, 2021. Fill out one application per institutional pair (i.e., by members of both the 2-year and 4-year institutions). Rural institutional pairs are especially encouraged to consider this opportunity. 

Contact CCRI at ccri@uw.edu to apply and/ or be contacted with dates for upcoming informational webinars about this project.

Learn more about the STEM Transfer Partnership Project, potential benefits, and what activities and commitments are involved:

FAQs

Building Your Partnership:

What is the intended scope or level of the project? (E.g., major, department, institution?)

The project should focus on the program level. For example, a partnership might represent the pathway from a 2-year Biology program to a 4-year Biochemistry degree, or the pathway from a 2-year Engineering program to a 4-year Mechanical Engineering degree.

Can more than one partnership from an institution apply?

Yes. Because partnerships center around program pathways, there can be teams representing multiple programs at the same institutions.  

Could a program at one community college and a BAS program at another community college apply?

Yes.

Does STEM Education qualify?

STEM Education actually falls under Education rather than STEM. STEM Education faculty could be valuable members of a team. However, the programs represented should be specifically STEM programs.

Do students need to be part of the team?

No. We would like student voices to be represented in the implementation of the project, but not as part of the team or the application.

Are partnerships meant to be faculty to faculty, e.g., faculty at a 2-year partnering with faculty at a 4-year?

We would like to see both faculty and staff from each institution on the teams.

Are institutions outside of Washington state eligible?

We are focusing on Washington state institutions.

Our numbers of low-income students are very low. Does that make us ineligible to apply?

No. The goal of this project is to positively impact the experiences and outcomes of low-income STEM students in Washington state. Some institutions already enroll large numbers of such students, while others have lower numbers right now but have the potential for reaching many more. Either scenario would suggest a different type of project, but could still have a significant impact on low-income students in their region.

Our institution is very focused on racial equity, while this project states that it is focused on low-income students. If racial equity is our project focus, are we eligible to apply?

Yes. We recognize that many racially minoritized students’ lived realities also include being from a low-income family. 


Support Provided by CCRI:

What types of support will you provide? 

The CCRI team will provide coaching and support throughout the project period by drawing on our experience and expertise in areas such as transfer partnerships, communities of practice, data collection and analysis, student engagement, organizational change and other areas as needed.

Our team members are not very familiar with qualitative data collection and analysis. Can we get support for that type of work?

Yes. The CCRI team can provide guidance on qualitative data collection and analysis.

Do we define the measurables? How do we know we’ve been successful?

Part of your work as a team will be to develop your own metrics and measurables for your project. The CCRI team will provide support during coaching meetings to help you with this work.


Time Commitment:

The project includes monthly coaching meetings and five convenings. With a lot on everyone’s plate, how much of a time commitment would this be if we are selected?

The monthly meetings will alternate with 2-year partners one month and 4-year partners the next month. These meetings will be virtual, 30-45 minutes each, and will not require all team members every month. The five convenings will each be one day (plus any necessary travel time), in person if possible, with locations to be determined based on where the 10 teams are located. 


Funding:

Are there any constraints on what the money can be used for?

The $25,000 per institution is meant to cover the cost of traveling to the convenings. The use of the remainder of the money is up to the teams.


Other:

I am just hearing about this opportunity, at this point will it be difficult to complete the application form by the December 30th deadline?

Filling in the application itself we estimate will not take long. The length of time to gather the necessary things in order to fill it out will depend on your context. The items include commitments from 3-5 people to be on your institution’s team, finding a partner institution, gathering the requested data, and getting the required signature from leadership.  

Project Goals

The primary goal of this 3-year project is to create a state-wide consortium of STEM transfer partnerships in order to support low-income STEM students’ completion of transfer and baccalaureate degrees. These partnerships will be designed and supported to work together to achieve improved transfer outcomes and completion of STEM degrees. 

The project involves selecting 10 pairs of two-year and four-year STEM programs to engage in transfer partnership work together. Faculty and staff teams from these institutions will apply to be part of a three-year project to collaborate on identifying the barriers to transfer and completion at their specific institutional pair, and then creating a set of action items around the common goal to retain and support low-income students in STEM through their undergraduate journey. Selected institutional pairs will be coached to examine data on their current transfer students, set goals for improvement, and analyze catalysts they can leverage and barriers they can remove to grow their partnership. Partner institutions will be given a stipend to support this work and the community of practice will be provided technical support to develop sustainable transfer partnerships.

Benefits of Participation

  • Help low-income STEM students access economic stability by removing transfer barriers
  • Share data to understand potential problems and solutions and set goals
  • Dedicated time, technical assistance, and coaching/support provided to meet your STEM transfer goals
  • Expand participants network of peers working on STEM transfer by being a part of a community of practice 
  • Be models on how to center low-income transfer students to impact success rates and share learnings with the larger state system
  • $25k stipend per institution
  • Learn how to catalyze and sustain transfer partnerships
  • Create a more diverse STEM workforce and help fill STEM positions in Washington state

Partnership Activities and Commitments

In this project, you will receive support and technical assistance to build or enhance transfer partnerships, learn about STEM transfer student barriers, and improve low-income STEM student outcomes. You will participate with colleagues and peers from throughout the state and use data to understand the barriers your low-income STEM students face and the supports they need to complete their baccalaureate degrees. The community of practice will engage over 3 years, 5 convenings and during monthly coaching sessions.

Partner institutions will:

  • Work together to create and submit action items, timelines, and goals, based on evidence, to improve low-income STEM student transfer experiences and outcomes that include student voice.
  • Gather data on the current transfer and completion rates of low-income transfer STEM students and continue to gather and analyze data throughout the project. 
  • Share experiences with their own institutions, describing how they positively impact student outcomes and build a sustainable transfer partnership.
  • Create a sustainability plan for the continuation of work after the end of the grant period.

Informational Webinar