STEMTEC will build on existing collaborations with Greenfield (GCC), Holyoke (HCC), and Springfield Technical (STCC) Community Colleges. Their students are primarily working, non-residential commuting adults, attending part time and often in the evening, mostly minority and/or female; STCC has 27% minority students, HCC 20%, GCC 6% (Appendix II). They have strong relationships with the schools through School to Work, Tech Prep and 2 + 2 programs, and participate in a Joint Admission program which guarantees qualifying students admission to UMass. They have a strong record of success in helping students from under-represented groups to prepare for a wide range of careers.
The community colleges will be full partners in STEMTEC. Their faculty will be members of the curriculum teams and will develop courses that fit the community college environments. Adding a science and math teaching option fits naturally into their agendas, since students interested in these fields need to see a clear career track. An increasing portion of community college staffs are part-time adjunct faculty without long term contracts; some departments depend on adjuncts for over a third of their teaching. Their presence underscores the need to make course revisions and develop reform agendas which will be adopted by the institutions and be independent of the particular faculty members.
STCC, UMass, and the Springfield Schools are in the process of developing a program to provide access to teacher
certification for African-American and Hispanic women who are employed as elementary school teacher aides. They will take
the STCC transfer curriculum which parallels the first two years of the UMass curriculum. The UMass Science Major option
(Section 7) will open the opportunity for the aides and other students to become middle school science or math teachers or
elementary science/math specialists. STEMTEC will use the NSF Scholarship money to assist some of these students. Similar
cooperative programs will be developed with HCC and GCC.