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ERIC Number: EJ1152944
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The Chi-Sci Scholars Program: "Developing Community and Challenging Racially Inequitable Measures of Success at a Minority-Serving Institution on Chicago's Southside"
Sabella, Mel S.; Mardis, Kristy L.
Physics Teacher, v55 n6 p350-355 Sep 2017
Ensuring that all students who want to pursue degrees and careers in science can do so is an important goal of a number of undergraduate STEM equity programs throughout the United States. Many of these programs, which promote diversity and the importance of diversity in science, directly address the 2012 PCAST report, which notes that "1 million additional STEM Professionals will be needed within the next decade" and "women and members of minority groups now constitute approximately 70% of college students, but earn only 45 percent of STEM degrees." The PCAST report also indicates that these students "leave STEM majors at higher rates than others and offer an expanding pool of untapped talent." Many of these programs recognize that it is important to provide students with a variety of support: financial, mentoring, research-based instruction, cohort development, and specific activities tailored to target population strengths and needs. The Chicago State University (CSU) Chi Sci Scholars (CSS) program began in 2014 as a result of a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM program and builds on the specific strengths of our population on the southside of Chicago. The overarching goal of CSU's CSS program is to increase the number of students receiving degrees in chemistry and physics by building science identity, creating a supportive cohort of peers, and providing financial support. Because of the population we serve at CSU, an implicit goal of the CSS program is increasing the number of underrepresented students entering the physical sciences. Interviews with students suggest that our activities aid in developing a community where students feel engaged and connected to one another and the department. We describe adaptable activities with the goal of improving support systems for students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). While our context focuses on an MSI, many of the recommendations presented can benefit all students at many institution types. In addition to describing the program itself, we conclude with a discussion of commonly accepted tools in predicting and judging student success, as well as the shortcomings of these tools. Suggestions for creating more holistic measures of success are presented.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago)
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1356523