Principal Investigator: Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD
University of New Mexico
IRACDA Plus will leverage an existing consortium of outstanding Research Intensive and Minority Serving Institutions to address needs for developing a national network of diversity scholars from the undergraduate to the junior faculty level, and for testing and assessing best practices for mentor training and professional development. IRACDA PLUS encompasses a consortium of: 1) nationally recognized leaders in research training and mentoring, 2) minority serving institutions engaged in teaching undergraduates underrepresented in the STEM disciplines, 3) leading education and research mentors, and 4) over 200 interdisciplinary, diversity scholars. The deliverables brought by integrating IRACDA PLUS into the NRMN are several-fold. By becoming integral members of the new NRMN network, IRACDA scholars will fulfill the NRMN’s goal of recruiting current and future NRMN research mentors. Explicit career development opportunities such as grant writing workshops and online resources offered through the NRMN Professional Development Core will be of benefit to IRACDA scholars and will provide opportunities for rapid assessment of tools with the greatest promise for transforming career success. Based on IRACDA program emphases on skill-building in teaching, education and mentoring, the IRACDA scholars will be uniquely prepared for near-peer mentoring roles in the NRMN network and thereby advance the NRMN goal of involving culturally responsive near-peer mentors and developing diverse mentees across multiple career stages. Participating IRACDA programs are representative of all five NRMN regions. Through their extensive connections with undergraduate diversity training programs and minority serving institutions they will serve as a conduit for further expanding the pool of early stage trainees from diverse backgrounds. Partner institutions include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, National Tribal Colleges, community and state colleges with high Hispanic and Latino enrollments, among other underrepresented populations in the STEM disciplines. Participating IRACDA institutions have developed extensive education, professional and career development tools for scholars from the undergraduate to graduate and post-doctoral levels, which can be leveraged and brought to bear on the development of the most effective strategies for building a highly successful, diverse workforce. Participating IRACDA institutions are home to cutting edge research programs spanning the life and physical sciences to clinical translational and community based research; thereby bringing integrative and transdisciplinary research perspectives to the NRMN. The success of the IRACDA PLUS collaborative will be judged through established evaluation programs and in partnership with the NRMN initiative.