Meeting the Challenge in Missouri

The Louis Stokes Missouri Alliance for Minority Participation ( LSAMP), which includes each of the publicly funded baccalaureate-degree-offering institutions in the state and several state governmental agencies, was recently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to begin a second 5-year project. Although our initial goals for degree production in phase I HAMP (Heartland?s Alliance for Minority Participation) were achieved, we learned that--for a state with only a 12% minority population and a history of inequitable treatment of minorities--we must deal with an additional dimension and set of challenges by customizing approaches to recruitment and training for our region. The key feature in our approach is the creation of a statewide alliance through Missouri higher education agencies.

This statewide alliance includes the Coordinating Board of Higher Education, the Council of Public Higher Education, the Missouri Community College Association, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. To support, but not supplant, the efforts of all member institutions, this organization will address:

  • pipeline issues by developing and supporting bridge programs to reach precollege students from underrepresented groups while they are exploring options

  • recruitment and retention issues by identifying and sharing information about effective monitoring and academic support services

  • diversity issues by increasing awareness about and sensitivity to factors that create problems for minority students on campuses

  • communication issues by developing a list of all programs and a calendar of activities at institutions statewide that support underrepresented students, and utilizing the technical infrastructure of the state to more efficiently and effectively communicate about and coordinate these programs

  • automatic transfer issues by developing stronger ties between community colleges and 4-year institutions through more articulation agreements

  • core curriculum issues by improving the precollege curriculum to ensure students are prepared for college-level science and mathematics courses, and changes to college-level core courses to ensure students are well prepared to complete higher level courses

  • school-to-work issues by identifying professional job classifications in the state and regionally where underrepresentation is evident, and/or where workforce shortages exist or are expected, beginning with core courses for science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) fields, and then expanding the focus to other professional fields, and

  • program funding issues by identifying and seeking financial support to assist disadvantaged students with scholarships and internships, and to support program activities.

Funds to support these activities will be sought from state agencies, the Missouri State Legislature, public service and professional organizations, Missouri industries, businesses and foundations, and other federal programs. Through the umbrella support of this organization, HAMP (and other programs at campuses in Missouri) would be coordinated most effectively, and its objectives will have stable long-term funding beyond the NSF support.

We believe that we have developed a set of innovative strategies and activities that will enable us to have long-term dramatic results and that will provide a comprehensive model that can be replicated with other institutional partnerships. During phase II we are addressing the most critical issues through four different bridge programs:

The Bridge from 2-Year Associate?s Degree to 4-Year Baccalaureate Degree programs :

  • Financial, academic, and career networking support to ensure that talented minority students who enter college will continue to pursue a baccalaureate SMET degree and excel in completing their degree programs.

  • Increase the number of articulation/automatic transfer programs between community colleges and 4-year colleges, and foster more effective communications among students and faculty at these schools.

The Bridge from the Baccalaureate to Graduate School :

  • Financial, educational and career developmental supports designed to encourage talented minority students who are in baccalaureate degree programs to pursue a SMET graduate degree.

The Bridge from the Baccalaureate to a SMET Career :

  • Internships for scholars that participate in summer or semester research internships with industry or public service partners.

  • Professional development workshops

  • Research experiences

The Bridge to Successfully Completing a Degree Program :

  • Ensure that all students succeed in navigating difficult courses and completing their degree requirements and adjust to new campus environment(s).

In addition to the nearly 2000 currently enrolled minority students in SMET programs (about 1450 at 4-year institutions and 450 at community colleges), we are developing:

  • An ongoing comprehensive monitoring system and support services at each campus, with this information made accessible to HAMP Central;

  • Academic support services, including peer study groups and tutorial services;

  • Mentoring, monitoring and diversity workshops will be provided for faculty, graduate students and staff who serve as advisors, research mentors and tutors, etc., for HAMP student participants.

We believe that the programs, strategies and techniques that we have adopted in Missouri, will assist us in getting our market share in a constricted arena.

For further information about LSAMP, HAMP, and other initiatives in Missouri, please send e-mail to Dr. Charles L. Sampson at

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