USD Wins $1 Million to Enhance Diversity in the Sciences

Photo of Brian Burrell. Brian Burrell, associate professor in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, led the faculty team at USD to secure the award.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as part of their Inclusive Excellence Initiative to enhance the participation and retention of underrepresented minorities in the natural sciences.

“We are excited and honored that USD has been chosen as one of the institutions to be funded by the HHMI-Inclusive Excellence program,” said Brian Burrell, associate professor in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences who led the faculty team at USD behind this effort. “For scientific advances to truly benefit all members of our society we will need all members of our society to be fully engaged in the scientific enterprise. The faculty, staff and students at USD are committed to making institutional level changes that will expand the diversity of students engaged in the sciences.”

In the 2017 competition, 511 schools of all types submitted pre-proposals to engage more students in the sciences on their campuses. Over multiple stages of peer-review by scientists and science educators, HHMI identified 24 schools for Inclusive Excellence 2017 awards.

The grant, spread over five years will assist USD faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Education, School of Health Sciences and the Center for Teaching and Learning develop culturally aware mentoring skills for faculty and staff and create culturally-relevant introductory science courses for students.

“This award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will allow USD to put in play several elements that will serve to attract, retain and enhance science education for an increased number of undergraduate students from groups that have tended to be under-represented in science,” said Jerry Yutrzenka, associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the USD Sanford School of Medicine.

ABOUT USD

Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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