Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265


Oct. 29, 2003


CONTACTS: Dr. Jack Narayan, 312-3692
Dr. Robert Moore, 312-2607


PROGRAM TO GENERATE PH.D.S
LAUNCHED AT SUNY OSWEGO

    OSWEGO -- A national program that aims to boost the number of Ph.D.s among members of underrepresented groups is getting under way at SUNY Oswego.

    Oswego was one of 18 institutions awarded new grants this year under the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Award Program, said Dr. Robert Moore, professor of English. He is co-director of the new program at Oswego along with Dr. Jack Narayan, dean of graduate studies and research.

    Oswego's program will enroll 20 juniors and seniors a year once it gets fully up and running, Moore said. About 10 students may join the program for spring semester.

    "Graduate school must be in their plans, and they must plan to teach," Moore said.

    Named for former astronaut Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the program was launched in 1989 and exists today at more than 150 colleges and universities across the country.

    The U.S. Department of Education has provided funding to Oswego of $190,216 for this academic year, according to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Moore said the Oswego program can expect four years of funding through 2006-07, for a total of $760,864. A fifth year of funding is possible depending upon results, he added.

    "Most of the money goes to support the students," he said.

    Oswego's program is designed to increase the number of people from underrepresented groups in the ranks of the nation's college professors. That includes African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Americans Indians, those from economically disadvantaged families who are first-generation college students, and -- in math- and science-related fields -- women. Rolando Arroyo-Sucre, Oswego's assistant provost for social equity and director of learning services, is a project facilitator.

    The McNair program aims to prepare students for doctoral studies by involving them in research and other scholarly activities. Students selected as McNair scholars receive $400 stipends each semester through their junior and senior years and a $2,000 summer stipend to pursue scholarly activity under the mentorship of a professor.

    The program also sponsors workshops to prepare the McNair scholars for entrance exams and for selecting and making applications to appropriate graduate schools.

    Oswego and St. Lawrence University were the only two institutions in New York to win funding for new McNair programs this year, Moore said. SUNY Brockport has had a successful program since 1989 that now enrolls about 50 students a year, he said.

    Oswego's team consulted with Brockport's recently retired project director, Vincent Tollers, in preparing the grant application. Tollers will continue his association with Oswego as program adviser.

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