As part of a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the college launched the Wheaton Inclusive STEM Excellence (WISE) initiative.

The goal of the effort is to improve student outcomes through innovative campus-wide programs, including professional development for faculty and the introduction of new opportunities for student engagement and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

With this support from HHMI, Wheaton’s comprehensive project will encourage increased engagement in STEM disciplines among all students. The activities include:

  • Creating a campus-wide leadership team of faculty and staff to promote inclusive excellence in STEM education;
  • Providing professional development opportunities for STEM faculty to promote inclusive teaching methods and support for developing evidence-based curricular reform;
  • Involving student leaders in peer-to-peer mentoring and programming, leadership training and campus-based internships;
  • And launching an ongoing assessment plan to better understand students’ experiences in science education and measure progress.

The initial focus of the work funded by the grant will involve intensive study of the opportunities for encouraging broader participation in science education by all students, no matter their major, and developing implementation plans for new offerings. Among the new initiatives proposed through the grant are programs designed to promote student leadership in science and foster the development of professional skills to facilitate post-graduation success. The offerings include the development of a new course on leadership, peer mentoring and an on-campus internship program in which students will develop, implement and measure initiatives designed to enhance engagement in the sciences.