Initiated in 2016 as a joint enterprise – with generous funding from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU UP) – CASL was founded by the University of the Virgin Islands, Fielding Graduate University, North Carolina A&T State University, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. With the authenticity and legitimacy that can only come from a lived HBCU experience, CASL repositions HBCUs from the margins to the center of broadening participation research, practice, and discourse in STEM higher education.
Specifically, we use a multipronged methodological approach toward integrating broadening participation research into a knowledge base that informs next generation leadership theories, policies, and practices. Our goal is to ensure that leadership, in service to broadening participation, is seamlessly translated across all higher education institutional boundaries in ways that will guarantee that the opportunity to pursue STEM is no longer reserved for only the cultural majority, educationally privileged, or economically advantaged.
Since 2016, our Center has expanded to include 16 HBCUs and 2 STEM related professional societies from across the nation. Collectively, these institutions and organizations examine, explore, and implement daring institutional change approaches for broadening participation in STEM that are grounded in one fundamental principle – Leadership matters.
Given the contemporary sociopolitical challenges of our day, CASL fills an important intellectual niche in higher education that can no longer go unfilled if the US is to indeed protect its vitality and preeminence in science and technology.
The Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership subscribes to three core values:
- Leadership, at all levels within the academy, is essential for broadening the participation of historically marginalized students in STEM.
- If this nation is to succeed in addressing its broadening participation agenda with respect to STEM, HBCUs must not be disregarded, overlooked within, or marginalized from mainstream STEM higher education reform.
- It is the lived HBCU experience that provides the most credible lens through which research findings can be interpreted, conclusions drawn, and recommendations made and accepted.