Entrance to California State University San Marcos.
Entrance to California State University San Marcos. Photo by Chris Stone

Cal State San Marcos is among 57 colleges and universities selected for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which provides $1 million in grant support over five years for each institution, it was announced Wednesday.

CSUSM was among 33 colleges and universities joining 24 institutions selected in 2017 for the Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which aims to catalyze schools’ efforts to engage all students in science regardless of background. That includes underrepresented ethnic minorities, first-generation college students and working adults with families, according to the announcement.

“In the College of Science and Mathematics, we are committed to preparing our graduates to be productive members of an agile, resilient and inclusive STEM workforce,” said Katherine Kantardjieff, dean of CSUSM’s College of Science and Mathematics. “This grant will enable us to implement practices that instill creativity, curiosity, critical thinking and innovation in our students, thereby creating academic experiences that help students discover where their interests intersect with the cutting edge of their field.”

Selected schools will work with HHMI and its partner, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, “to engage in the process of culture change,” according to the announcement.

During two rounds of selection in 2017 and 2018, HHMI received applications from 594 colleges and universities. From those, 140 were invited to submit full proposals for plans to develop more inclusive environments for their students.

Each of the selected schools has committed to working closely with HHMI and the AAC&U Inclusive Excellence Commission for five years to evaluate its progress and refine its approach, according to the announcement.

CSUSM officials said the proposal focuses on faculty development in research-based student learning; advising and peer mentoring focused on students’ science identity; and creation of inclusive pedagogies.