The collaborative research efforts at the Institute for Strengthening Pathways and Research Knowledge in STEM (SPARK STEM Institute) broaden participation in STEM colleges and schools regionally, nationally, and globally; and the research-based models being tested in K-12 schools in the Greater Alabama Black Belt involving various colleges and schools and in partnership with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) provide a unique opportunity for academic departments to be directly involved in strengthening pathways for students in underserved schools to ensure that students from our underserved schools are college ready.
- Establish a researcher-practitioner-community partnership to foster research-based technical assistance in historically underserved schools in the Greater Alabama Black Belt Region.
- Study the barriers and issues faced by historically underserved schools and develop sustainable solutions to prepare students for college and STEM workforce.
- Study the barriers and issues faced by historically underrepresented and underserved students and examine the feasibility of supplemental instruction and academic year programs, and tailor interventions to improve their college readiness, especially in English, mathematics, and science.
- Engage STEM faculty to create and evaluate innovative research-based models for improving academic performance and social integration of historically underrepresented and underserved populations in STEM disciplines.
- Serve as a hub for the incubation, development, and implementation of ideas for complex grant proposals and major projects and initiatives and their institutionalization.
- Evaluate and disseminate SPARK STEM Institute interventions and their impact.