California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) and Palomar Community College (Palomar) are increasing the number of STEM graduates through recruiting and retention activities coordinated across both institutions. A marketing study was conducted to determine how prospective students’ perceived STEM programs and what program elements were highly attractive to prospective students. These findings have been incorporated into outreach programs and promotional materials. To increase retention in STEM courses, the project has initiated an Active-Learning Pedagogy Support (ALPS) program that provides faculty professional development and resources to implement course-specific active-learning based curricula. In addition, a STEM center with drop-in science tutoring will open in spring 2012.
CSUSM and Palomar are <2 miles apart in north San Diego County. Palomar and CSUSM serve a region with a high concentration of technology and biotech firms. Projections for regional and state growth show a strong need for workers with degrees in all STEM disciplines.
CSUSM and Palomar are culturally and ethnically diverse and representative of their surrounding region. Both CSUSM and Palomar are designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI). The region also has a significant military presence including a number of large military bases.
CSUSM and Palomar have a strong partnership based on physical proximity, overlapping educational missions, and participation in local higher ed organizations. STEM-specific interactions include formal elements such as an NIH Bridges grant, DoE HSI-STEM grant, the current NSF-STEP grant, and transfer agreements.
*STEP is NSF's STEM Talent Expansion Program. This project is supported by NSF Grant DUE-1068477