LINC STORY

This [Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program  (HBCU-UP)]    provides awards to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a means to broaden participation in the Nation’s STEM workforce

National Science Foundation

 

It Takes a Campus to Graduate a Student

 

Langston’ Integrated Network College (LINC) was created in 2003 with the support of 2 successive 5-year grants (2003-2008; 2008-2014) from the  National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling over $5 M as well as the support of Langston University’s  staff and faculty community. It has emerged as a training ground and showcase for Langston’s scholars in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines.

Specifically, LINC’s goal has always been, and continues to be, to contribute to the  number of minority students who select STEM as a major, complete an undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline, and  enter and complete a graduate or professional degree program.  Achievement of this goal speaks to the heart of the NSF HBCU-UP program, and also answers the call of the nation to improve its global competitiveness by increasing the number and diversity of qualified STEM professionals.

LINC is the brainchild of Langston Chemistry Professor and Department chair, John K. Coleman, PhD,  whose philosophy for learning includes an unyielding belief in such age-old adages as start where you are, use what you have, expect excellence, and learn the basics – reading and math.  It was the climate of collaboration at Langston that made the creation of LINC possible.   Langston had over fourteen (14) pre-college programs, at least five (5) Langston-based programs, and more that twelve (12) external partners that had attributes that could contribute to a network of support for scholars interested in, and capable of excellence in,  STEM disciplines.  The expectation of excellence and support among STEM staff; Langston’s hard-wired, existing programs; and the NSF HBCU-UP’s vision and support –  properly integrated – resulted in LINC.

At the outset, key LINC features were:

  1. Scholarships
  2. Formal mentoring and tutoring
  3. Enhanced course curricula
  4. State of the art research equipment
  5. Increased opportunities for research experience
  6. GRE and Graduate School Readiness Training
  7. Preparation for Success programs
  8. Strategic network of internal and external partners

 

Most of the programs elements are embedded at LU and continue to support STEM majors.  Continuous availability of  scholarship funding beyond the NSF grants is challenging, and requires the total commitment of the LU community. Financial support is a necessity for students from humble financial backgrounds; most are not experienced at finding resources because pursuing higher education is not naturally embedded in their culture.

LINC gave rise to the creation of two new programs that have significantly impacted teaching and learning (Competency Performance Recordings for Learning – CPRL), and internal and external communications (STEM Digital Village – SDV). Each of these programs shows potential to have broad applications beyond STEM disciplines and beyond the LU campus.

Participation in the LINC project has been the doorway for students to become involved in impressive research internships at various universities and research organizations nationwide.  Students leverage their research experiences to gain entry into competitive research presentations at events that include the highly competitive Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference and the equally competitive Beta Kappa Chi and National Institute of Science (NISBKX) Joint Meeting. Langston’s LINC scholars’ performance has been most impressive, gaining them top awards.

The LINC program exceeded its objectives of increasing the number of students who enroll in a STEM major by 15%,  increasing the number of LU STEM graduates by 15%, and increasing the number of students who enroll in STEM graduate programs by 25 %. Actual results were: during LINC, STEM majors increased as follows:1) Biology majors – 49% (avg.  of 85/year to avg. of 127/year);  2) Chemistry majors – 150%, from an average of 10/year to 25/year; and  3) the number of STEM students who entered MS/PhD programs (graduate school ongoing rate) increased by 233% (18 vs. 60) over pre-LINC years. Further, Of 133 program participants, 111 had earned a BS degree by early 2016, and an additional 12 were still in school at LU. Over 70% (81 out of 111) matriculated to an advanced  STEM or professional degree program. Others accepted high level positions in industry. As of early 2016, over half had earned an advanced or professional degree and 13 were still in an advanced degree program.

CPR-L was, and continues to be, limited by available resources.  In order for the process to be used where it is most needed – gate keeping STEM courses – each student needs access to technology that will permit them to create homework videos overnight.  Staffing is needed to review and assess the homework in order to ensure that core concepts are understood and properly applied.  STEM Digital Village can be expanded to support an array of programs. However, it needs dedicated personnel to manage it.

Read more about LINC.

Results/Accomplishments

LINC Success Team

LINC Scholars Research Projects (and awards earned)

STEM Digital Village

CPRL

 

For further information, contact Dr. John K. Coleman at jkcoleman@langston.edu.

 

 

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