Michael Winters, a WVU School of Medicine graduate student, quantifies SARS-CoV-2 virus using fixed cells under a microscope at the Martinez Lab. Current and future STEM students will get more support through a nationwide initiative WVU officially joins this month. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

WVU joins national effort to make collegiate science education more inclusive

“Bold change” designed to better support current and future STEM students through more inclusive teaching is the goal of a nationwide initiative West Virginia University officially joins this month.

“I am excited to see this new effort take off, and to expand the myriad ways we support underserved students here at WVU,” President Gordon Gee said.

As part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative, WVU will receive $475,000 in grant funding to support local work and research to improve the introductory undergraduate science experience in collaboration with other institutions nationwide.

“WVU’s participation in the IE3 initiative helps to ensure we are a student-ready institution — able to support the success of all students and prepare them for excellent career outcomes, no matter their background,” Maryanne Reed, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. “This support from HHMI will allow us to carefully study our student success initiatives across the University and develop a national model based on the excellent efforts of faculty members at WVU and our partner institutions.”

HHMI cites “dynamic demographics” and “substantial disparities between students who arrive at college via different pathways” as the primary challenges facing science education. National and WVU data show that students who are first generation or of historically excluded ethnic and racial groups leave STEM programs at a disproportionately higher rate than other students.

“We know we need those diverse perspectives in the STEM fields and faculty members can have a profound impact on each student’s success,” said Gay Stewart, grant co-director and founding director of the WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education. “Through this IE3 initiative, we are hoping to identify and highlight ways in which we can best support timely graduation of STEM students entering WVU who have been underserved in mathematics.”

In March 2021, WVU accepted an invitation to join one of seven IE3 Learning Community Clusters, which includes Georgia State University, Drexel University and University of California, Irvine, among others.

Organized around one of three IE3 challenges in the pre-proposal stage, the LCCs have each worked together to design a collaborative infrastructure and set of experiments aimed at addressing their challenge. The grant funding, which runs through August 2028, clears the way for that work.

“WVU’s cluster, LCC5, is specifically addressing ways to foster, promote and evaluate inclusive teaching practices in STEM,” Stewart said. “Our cluster will work on a portfolio of projects that focus on understanding what high-quality inclusive teaching looks like, how to support it and how to reward it.”

The WVU team aims to support this work by gaining a deeper understanding of the University’s data, best practices and curriculum and identifying ways to enhance student success.

Along with Stewart, who serves on the LCC5 advisory board, the cross-functional team includes faculty and administrators from the Morgantown campus:

  • Lisa Castellino-Gergich, associate vice president for institutional data and analytics
  • Paul Kreider, vice provost and WVU IE3 project co-director
  • Lori Ogden, teaching associate professor and associate director of the Institute of Math Learning
  • Robynn Shannon, director of assessment support
  • John Stewart, professor, WVU IE3 research lead and LCC5 leadership team
  • Evan Widders, associate provost for undergraduate education

“Our goal is to make bold change at WVU,” Kreider said. “We’ll do that by digging into our own data, piloting new efforts and collaborating with our partner institutions.”

The HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative began in 2017 with a cohort of 24 universities and colleges and added a second cohort of 33 institutions in 2018. With the addition of the IE3 Learning Community Clusters, WVU is now part of a network of 161 schools nationwide receiving grant funding from HHMI.



Consolidated board determines North Kanawha will remain a two-way street

BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board voted to keep North Kanawha Street a two-way street after previously considering making it a one-way road. The CPWB took up two previously discussed traffic items during their Jan. 26 meeting. The board […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Barbour County man arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a juvenile in his care

BUCKHANNON — A Barbour County man who is listed on the West Virginia State Police’s Sex Offender Registry has been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor in his care. Kenneth D. Call, 52, of Belington, W.Va., was […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Buckhannon: Then & Now – Big snow in Upshur County

Buckhannon: Then & Now. Join us in showcasing Upshur County throughout history and today. Much like today, Buckhannon has experienced major snow accumulations throughout history. Pictured here, Buckhannon received a record breaking accumulation of 40

County commission tasks new owner of Holly Apartments with cleaning up the site, will reevaluate in 90 days

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission has given the new owners of the Holly Apartments building in Adrian 90 days to clean up the property. The Holly Apartments were considered a total loss after a fire spread throughout the whole […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.


Wesleyan lacrosse picked fifth in MEC preseason poll

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – West Virginia Wesleyan women’s lacrosse has been selected to finish fifth in the Mountain East Conference, the league announced today. WVWC totaled nine points in the vote. Frostburg State and Notre Dame College tied

Swim Bucs head into Saturday’s conference championship meet coming off strong final performance at home

BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School boys and girls swim teams will head into the Big 10 Conference Championships on Saturday with the current at their backs after winning 10 events in their final home meet of the season. The […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Owens steps down as head coach of Lady Bobcat soccer program

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Richard Owens has resigned as head coach of the West Virginia Wesleyan women’s soccer program, WVWC Athletic Department announced on Thursday. Owens spent five seasons as head coach of the Lady Bobcats,


Canaan Valley Resort to ski clinic for women Feb. 25-26

Davis, W.Va. (January 2023) – Offering more than seven hours of group and personalized ski instruction in a fun and supportive environment, Canaan Valley Resort will host a ski clinic for women by women February

Winter Blues Farmers Market returns Feb. 25

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Winter Blues is back! The indoor farmers market makes its return on Saturday, February 25. More than 60 vendors from across West Virginia will be on hand to sell products grown and