Western Joins Minority Alliance

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

A $2.4 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation will give several Kentucky and West Virginia schools the chance to attract more minority students into the physical sciences such as math, technology and engineering.

Western president Dr. Gary Ransdell says Western's numbers have stayed pretty consistent despite a marked increase in minorities on campus.

Ransdell says joining a program like this will add to the work they are already doing in the sciences area.

"This program, when combined with our Kentucky Academy of Math and Science that we will open next year will go a long way to get very talented people into the disciplines."

Every university will have particular areas that will be focused on as a part of this program, like recruitment or research opportunities.

"Some will be more research-oriented. In our case, we're going to look at our curriculum to be sure that our curricula in those disciplines lend itself to attracting students from various minority groups."

Western will be also charged with looking at its campus climate for minorities.

Ransdell says being a part of this alliance can serve to help the school get the word out to the minority communities more efficiently about what is open to them.

"It will give us some resources through which we can actually recruit students, not only already coming to Western but those who are considering their options."

The alliance has set a goal in which to have 270 more minority baccalaureate degrees after five years, which is a 111% increase.

Ransdell says he's looking forward to Western students being some of those graduates.

"I would guess that WKU would be in the 30, 40, 50, range in terms of the number of students we'd like to increase."

Also in the alliance with WKU are the University of Kentucky, Centre College, Kentucky State University, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College and University of Louisville and West Virginia University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia State Community and Technical College and Marshall University in West Virginia.

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