Northwest College is proud to be the first community college in the state to partner with the University of Wyoming in a new science initiative funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence 3 Grant (HHMI IE3). The institute is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance basic biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. In creating the grant, the HHMI challenges U.S. colleges and universities to substantially, and sustainably, build their capacity for student belonging, especially for those who have been historically excluded from the sciences.
The Wyoming Inclusive Excellence team is focusing its efforts on creating effective partnerships between two- and four-year institutions that develop from existing relationships, which is one of the three stated dimensions of inclusive excellence. The team has accepted membership in a national learning community composed of 15 fellow institutional teams from across the nation, and Northwest College is the first state community college to engage with UW in its work.
UW and NWC educators recently met as their own “learning community” to set inclusive excellence goals. Representing NWC were Deepthi Amarasuriya, physics; Eric Atkinson, biological sciences; Tim Glatzer, mathematics; Kim Kost, Terri Meyer and Lindsay Shaw, from the TRiO program; Lisa Smith, institutional research manager; and Uko Udodong, chemistry.
Representing UW were Annie Bergman, of the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program; Erin Bentley, a botany and Program in Ecology graduate student from Green River; and Christi Boggs, associate director of digital teaching and learning in the Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning, and a faculty member in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice.
The Wyoming Inclusive Excellence team received a small learning grant during phase one of the IE3 initiative to gather information about inclusive excellence at UW and the state’s community colleges. Phase two is now underway, and when the national learning community and HHMI leaders are satisfied with the structure and content of the proposal, more than $8 million in additional funding will be distributed among the 15 institutional teams, which will enable them to continue their work.