AGEP at Purdue
Purdue University’s AGEP program has existed for over 10 years, and its progression toward excellence continues. The goal is to increase the number of domestic students receiving doctoral degrees and becoming faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, with special emphasis on those population groups underrepresented in these fields.
Midwest Crossroads Alliance
Purdue AGEP began in 2004 with its first National Science Foundation (NSF) AGEP grant. Purdue, Indiana University and Northwestern University partnered to develop the Midwest Crossroads AGEP, with Purdue being the lead alliance institution. A strategic plan was developed among these schools to increase enrollment, improve retention, and prepare and encourage students to enter the academy. Recruiting, retention and enrichment activities were key elements of the Crossroads plan.
When the NSF grant ended, we continued to operate beyond the funding period and the Crossroads activities and key elements were institutionalized. The AGEP program begins with the recruitment of the underrepresented graduate student.
Recruiting: Linkages and partnerships with the Indiana LSAMP, Purdue University Science Bound Program, regional undergraduate institutions, and predominantly minority-serving institutions nationwide continue to be developed and enhanced. AGEP faculty, students and staff disseminate information on graduate school opportunities at Purdue, at national and regional conferences, and campus visitation opportunities.
Retention: Student organizations are utilized to ensure that incoming graduate students have an instant peer network. We have a network of AGEP professors who are committed to graduating PhD students. Summer transition experiences and numerous workshops/seminars to promote professorial development, along with networking opportunities, are being implemented.
Enrichment: AGEP will keep current to maintain awareness of best practices and innovation in faculty preparation and provide graduate students and postdoctoral scholars opportunities to enhance their skills and be marketable for faculty positions.
Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA)
The Big Ten Academic Alliance is a consortium that includes Purdue and 13 other Big Ten universities, plus the University of Chicago. The BTAA was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) AGEP-Transformation (AGEP-T) grant titled “Professorial Advancement Initiative” (PAI) to address the advancement issue. The BTAA, partnered with AGEP, will utilize the PAI to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) postdocs entering the professoriate. The AGEP-T PAI will work to double the number of URM faculty members hired annually. This initiative includes 14 Big Ten universities who seek to increase URM faculty by 50% in the first year.
The programmatic goal of the AGEP-T PAI is to develop a high-quality mentoring network that will improve the transition of postdoctoral scholars into the professoriate in the STEM disciplines. Two objectives support this goal:
- Create a pool of URM postdoctoral scholars prepared and trained to enter the academy as tenure-track faculty.
- Educate faculty and faculty search committees about unconscious bias and diversity hiring.