Alliance to increase minority graduates in science, technology fields
By SHANNON WINGARD, Media Relations
A $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help Ohio universities and partners work together to significantly increase the number of minority students who earn bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The NSF initiative, the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, is named in honor of the congressman from Cleveland and currently funds 31 alliances nationwide.
Ohio State will lead a consortium of 15 universities and four other agencies in the state to form the Ohio Science and Engineering Alliance. The alliance aims to double the number of minority undergraduate students earning bachelor's degrees in science and high-tech fields and increase the number of minority students who go on to pursue graduate degrees.
The NSF grant provides $700,000 annually for five years to support projects designed to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation of minority students as well as to encourage participants to attend graduate school. Funds also will be used to support initiatives of the alliance, such as a statewide undergraduate research symposium and research-based internships at consortium institutions, as well as individual campus mentoring, tutoring and supplemental instruction.
President Karen Holbrook will serve as the principal investigator and chair of the alliance's governing board. Susan Huntington, dean of the Graduate School, is co-principal investigator. Holbrook said the collaboration is an example of the statewide commitment to recruit and retain minority students who are excelling academically.
"The alliance is a unique effort to enhance minority student participation in areas that are critical to the state's future,"she said. "This is an important initiative for Ohio, and I am delighted that we are helping to lead the effort."
The alliance will address key issues, beginning with the freshman experience and following through with research opportunities for juniors and seniors. It also will focus on professional development, including networking opportunities for students and workshops for faculty and staff who work with campus programs involved in the alliance.
Jean Girves, former associate director of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium of 12 major teaching and research universities in the Midwest, will serve as the project director. She said the alliance institutions will share effective strategies and will develop new strategies for recruiting and retaining minority students in science and high-tech fields.
"All of the institutions have programs or activities in place that support the goals of this alliance,"Girves said. "We want to put together an infrastructure that will complement and enhance these activities as well as foster cooperation across the state. Once an effective infrastructure is in place, we can broaden the collaboration to include more fields and students."
The alliance also will enhance minority students' awareness of the advantages of pursuing graduate school, said Huntington. It will allow students to become familiar with graduate programs at universities around the state to find the right or best fit, she said.
"One size does not always fit all in terms of institutions,"Huntington said. "We want to ensure that students with an interest in these fields of study are in the program most suited to them."
Huntington said the universities involved in the alliance will work together to recruit and support students. In addition to Ohio State, the institutions involved are: the universities of Akron, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo; and Bowling Green State, Case Western Reserve, Central State, Cleveland State, Kent State, Miami, Ohio, Wilberforce, Wright State and Youngstown State universities.
In addition, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Ohio Board of Regents, COSI and the Ohio College Access Network are members of the new alliance. Other organizations may join the alliance in the future.
Girves said this is a unique partnership among Ohio universities and agencies. "To my knowledge, these Ohio institutions have not worked together in this way before,"Girves said. "This is a true collaboration designed to foster the success of minority students across Ohio."
Lane Avenue bridge now open
One project finishes while others commence
By RANDY GAMMAGE, onCAMPUS staff
Although several new construction projects are scheduled to begin in the next few months, the Nov. 17 opening of the new Lane Avenue bridge signals a wave of projects scheduled for completion over the same time period.
The six-lane, cable-stayed bridge over the Olentangy River offers significant relief for motorists previously limited to two lanes on the Woody Hayes Drive bridge. A Franklin County Engineer's project, the Lane Avenue bridge was completed five months ahead of schedule after nearly a year and a half of intensive construction work.
Sarah Blouch, director of transportation and parking services, said her office has fielded far more complaints about traffic this year, particularly relating to the Tuttle Park Place and Woody Hayes Drive roadways during peak hours.
She attributed the increase to the simultaneous bridge and Lane Avenue widening project work.
"Now that Lane Avenue is open at the bridge, we should see less traffic along Woody Hayes Drive as motorists now have one more option to get around,"Blouch said.
More relief is in store as the Lane Avenue widening project progresses. Road bed work from Neil Avenue east to High Street is scheduled to be completed by July 2004. Traffic will be maintained.
Meanwhile, work on the Woody Hayes bridge continues, with the completion expected by the end of 2004. One-lane traffic in each direction remains open while the bridge is built one side at a time. Traffic is scheduled to shift to the completed side Dec. 19, allowing for demolition and replacement of the existing bridge span beginning in January, Blouch said.
Pedestrian safety should benefit when a new entrance to the Polo Lot off 10th Avenue is completed by the end of November and a timed traffic signal is installed.
"I think people are becoming more aware and getting a little more used to watching for pedestrians in construction zones,"Blouch said.
Major projects scheduled to begin soon, and the predicted traffic and parking impacts, include:
"I do believe winter and spring quarters will be the worst yet, as far as the impact construction will have on traffic and parking,"Blouch said. "However, things should settle down considerably this summer as a number of projects wrap up, including the Heart Hospital, state Route 315 ramps (to the Medical Center) and the new hospitals garage, which will add 975 desperately needed parking spaces."
Other projects to be completed in the near future include the Knowlton School of Architecture (April 2004) and Hagerty Hall (July 2004). As utility work for the South Campus Gateway project nears completion, east and west 11th and 10th avenues are now open to traffic. At the end of November, Chittenden and East Ninth will open to traffic and High Street will open to four lanes of traffic.
For regular updates on construction projects that may affect the way you travel to or around campus, visit the Time and Change Construction Awareness site on the Web at http://constructionawareness.osu.edu/ or visit www.tp.ohio-state.edu/construction/index.shtml.