Insights into Implementing Research Collaborations between Research-Intensive Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions

Mao Thao, Frances Lawrenz, Mary Brakke, Jamie Sherman, Martin Matute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Core Ideas: Science faculty at minority-serving institutions and research-intensive universities are willing to collaborate and believe that collaboration provides valuable opportunities for students. Students enjoyed and believed they benefitted from the research collaborations; in particular, students gained research experiences and benefitted from the mentoring relationships they had with faculty from both types of institutions. Research collaborations between minority-serving institutions and research-intensive universities show some promise in terms of increasing the diversity of the people pursuing advanced degrees in plant breeding, although career choices depend on many variables that cannot be addressed by a research experience alone. With the high demand to build the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce and the disparity of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, there have been increased educational efforts to diversify STEM fields. This article describes what works in research collaborations between research-intensive universities (RIUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) for increasing the likelihood of pursuing an advanced degree in science, in particular plant breeding. Using a longitudinal case study design, the research collaboration experience is captured from the perspectives of faculty at research-intensive universities and faculty and students from minority-serving institutions through mixed methods, including surveys, interviews, and site visits. All those involved felt the program was valuable and enhanced the experiences of students at the minority-serving institutions by providing research opportunities; however, the intended goal of developing a future pipeline of students into plant breeding was not met. Despite this, the Triticeae Coordinated Agricultural Project (TCAP) research collaborations with the participating MSIs show some promise and there are lessons to be learned for future efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNatural Sciences Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 by the American Society of Agronomy


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