NATIVE AMER INST
Non Technical Summary
The aim of this proposal is to strengthen pathways for Native American undergraduates (i.e., freshman and sophomores) to major in agriculture disciplines. Over 48 months, Natives in Agriculture (NAP) will engage two cohorts of four Native American students (N=8). Students will be recruited into NAP during the fall semester.Once admitted into the two-year program, students will be provided with factuly andpeer mentor support and funding.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
The aim of this proposal is to strengthen pathways for Native American undergraduates (i.e., freshman and sophomores) to major in agriculture disciplines. Over 48 months, Natives in Agriculture (NAP) will engage two cohorts of four Native American students (N=8). Students will be recruited into NAP during the fall semester. Using the networks of the Michigan State University (MSU) Native American Institute (NAI), the program will be advertised through the Michigan Consortium Tribal Education Directors and the Michigan Indian Education Council. NAP recruitment efforts will also include the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Michigan Indian Leadership Program (MILP)--a pre-college institute for Native American students.Once admitted into the two-year program, students will be provided with peer mentor support through the Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) MSU chapter, and the MSU North American Indigenous Student Organization. Students will be paired with a faculty mentor based on their interests in agriculture. Faculty mentors will be encouraged to support the professional development of the NAP students through opportunities to shadow faculty research, fieldwork and outreach activities. NAP will sponsor networking events and lectures throughout the academic year. Annually, NAP students will present a capstone poster about their learning experiences at the MSU Indigenous Graduate Symposium. The outcomes of this project will be measured by the number of students declaring majors in CANR programs. The evaluation of NAP will include (1) beginning and end of semester interviews with students and (2) regular surveys of students and faculty mentors.
The evaluation plan employs an iteration-oriented approach, which accounts for the importance of conducting front-end, formative, and summative evaluation throughout the project. These formative and summative evaluation efforts are designed and implemented by Dr. Poitra. The methods of evaluation for the development of the implementation of the program activities will include the use of objective performance measures, related to the intended outcomes of the project--namely, quantitative and qualitative data (i.e., observational, interviews and surveys with participants about their STEM self-efficacy before and after the workshop). The evaluation will be based on NAP inputs activities, outputs, immediate and intermediate outcomes, and long-term outcomes and impacts. Dr. Poitra will also independently collect data, through surveys, interviews, and meetings and observations on issues related to program implementation and outcomes. The data will be analyzed in aggregate and individual responses looking for broad themes and actionable information that results in improved processes and content.Generally, the three phases of the evaluation plan are (1) assessment of the research design, and(2) assessment of the data and analysis in relation to project conditions such as how faculty mentorship and professional development opportunities impact students' interest in agriculture.Each project phase will include ongoing formative assessment to identify components that contribute to the project's goals.Faculty mentors will be a critical component of NAP. The workshops will bring together faculty mentors working in different departments of agriculture. Faculty will apply to be mentors and receive (1) a stipend for their labor and (2) professional development training on mentoring Native students using theHonoring the Whole Student: Developing Space for Native American Students in STEM by Supporting Complex Identitiesworkbook. This workbook, authored by Dr. Poitra, Dr. Kolonich and Dr. Tyler, provides STEM faculty the support and tools needed to reflect on their instructional, mentorship, and teaching practices--individually or within a community of learners. Leveraging the prior work of the PI and Co-PIs on this workbook will enhance the overall impact on faculty practice--which will enhance the student experience in the program. The workbook aims to support STEM faculty to foster a deeper understanding of how to more dynamically support Native American students. The activities in this workbook are intended to generate conversation and reflection about the challenges faced by, and world views of, Native American STEM students.Faculty mentors will engage as a community of learners through bi-monthly working groups and reflection meetings based on the activities outlined in the workbook. At each working group, faculty will be assigned to complete an activity within the workbook and come to the group to discuss their experiences and perspectives. The working groups will be facilitated by Dr. Poitra, Dr. Kolonich and Dr. Tyler. The questions associated with the working groups will be (1) what do faculty need to know to support Native students in agriculture, and (2) how can the instructional and mentorship practices of faculty be enhanced to better support Native student persistence in agriculture? In thinking about the potential of these faculty development activities, it is important to consider (1) how activities in the workbook boost an understanding of diversity, and (2) what is the potential for short-term and long-term action once faculty have completed the workbook. Through the workshop activities, the faculty mentors will be prompted to engage in each of these questions to support their own learning and practice.