The Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration (JHBC) at Cal State San Bernardino has received a nearly $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve online STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for undergraduate students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI). CSUSB was first named an HSI in 1994 and has received that distinction every year since. 

The grant proposal was funded by a JHBC seed grant, which helped buyout and compensate faculty involved. The project is intended to produce university collaboration and, in particular, create a research network of HSIs interested in tackling the challenges that face their students in online settings in STEM.

“JHBC is reputable for innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Anna Ni, associate dean of the Jack H. Brown College, professor of public administration and principal investigator of the project. “The seed grant is instrumental for faculty to take initiatives in exploring external grant opportunities and exerting broader societal impact.”

The goals include: 1) engage student learning relative to Hispanic students’ needs and preferences, 2) increase learning achievement, 3) improve retention, and 4) increase graduation rates. This proposal seeks to improve all of these goals through better basic understanding of online STEM education in HSI contexts, better understanding of the applied challenges and best practices in dealing with STEM online education in HSI contexts, and better dissemination of best practices.

The project is a collaborative effort that involves co-principal investigators from three CSUSB colleges from four STEM disciplines. In addition to Ni, the co-principal investigators include Yunfei Hou, associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering and associate director at the CSUSB Leonard Transportation Center; Miranda M. McIntyre, assistant professor in psychology who serves as a Faculty Fellow at CSUSB in support of online teaching and learning, STEM education and student wellbeing; and Pamela Medina, assistant professor of public administration. 

Other experts on the team include Monty Van Wart, professor of public administration; Jing Zhang, associate professor of management; Yu Liu, associate professor of accounting and finance; and Golge Seferoglu, an educational expert and project evaluator. 

This project is part of the CSUSB Online Teaching Research Team, which was started in 2018 and has been led by Van Wart and Ni. The team involves over 30 faculty members of different disciplines across three universities, and so far, has published 16 peer reviewed journal articles.