Supporting Minority Students at Arizona State University at the West Campus
Arizona State University at the West Campus
Arizona State University has multiple campuses throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, each of which has a distinct mission. The West Campus is the liberal arts campus with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity. It is a primarily undergraduate campus with no graduate programs in the sciences. Additionally, the student population at ASU West is incredibly diverse, with a large number of minority, first generation, and non-traditional students. In the 2012-13 academic year, approximately 40% of the majors within the School of Mathematical & Natural Sciences are made up of Hispanic, Asian-American, American Indian, and African American ethnicities, and half of all students are female. A large portion of our students are parents and/or married and hold full-time jobs. Therefore, ASU West provides the unique opportunity to mentor students from a rich diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds and life stages. We offer, among our degrees, a B.S. program in Life Sciences with an Environmental Science concentration.
Keys to Success
- Attracting new students by emphasizing the opportunity to have a small college experience with research university resources, and partnering with local high schools and community colleges to streamline the transition to college.
- Supporting our majors by encouraging 1:1 interaction with faculty, along with tutoring and mentoring in our STEM Trio program.
- Preparing students for careers by supporting hands-on research and internship experience.
Attracting New Students
ASU's West Campus emphasizes to prespective students the unique ability to have a small college experience with large research university resources. Students in our degree programs will connect with faculty conducting high-level research (as part of a Research One Institution) who are also committed to excellence in teaching and student success. To attract new students, we actively partner with local community colleges to transition students into 4-year degree programs in our college. We also conduct events at local high schools or host science fair events on campus to attract local high school students, as well as attract out-of-state high schoolers by participating in the Western Undergraduate Exchange. We have Student Ambassadors, comprising volunteer undergraduate students that serve as representatives of our college to provide prospective students and parents with information, first-hand experiences and resources that our college offers.
Supporting Our Majors
We have several programs with the goal of increasing student success. The Peer Mentor Program assists freshman students with the challenges they face transitioning from high school to college. The Program provides first year students with peer support, academic skill building workshops and campus resource information. The primary goals of the peer mentoring program are to: help students succeed academically, establish a sense of belonging on campus, develop a supportive community and connect with faculty and staff outside of the classroom. The TRiO Student Support Services STEM program is an educational opportunity aimed at increasing the number of low-income, first generation and disabled students entering college and graduating with degrees in STEM disciplines. It is a federally funded program that provides targeted assistance and services to 130 undergraduates, including tutoring, supplemental course instruction, academic advising, mentoring, workshops, career preparation, and support for travel to conferences.
Preparing Students for Careers
We focus on preparing students for both the job market and graduate school. In addition to the student support programs, we focus heavily on excellence in undergraduate research through both 1:1 research experiences with faculty and outside internships. Our New College Undergraduate Inquiry & Research Experiences (NCUIRE) program provides students a stipend to conduct invaluable research experience with faculty, as well as a venue for presenting their work. Students can enroll in an Individualized Instruction course to receive course credit for working on research projects in faculty labs. Other programs at ASU include the Western Alliance for the Expansion of Student Opportunities (WAESO), an alliance of institutions of higher education, national laboratories, professional organizations, corporations, and educational organizations throughout Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Western Texas, Colorado, and Utah. The WAESO's goal is to increase the number of underrepresented students who receive baccalaureate and doctorate degrees in STEM by funding undergraduate research projects, stipends, and travel to conferences. Barrett, the Honors College also provides course credit and funds for student research being conducted for their honors theses.