MU Awarded $1 Million Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant To Enhance Science Education

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has selected the University of Missouri to receive a $1 million, five-year grant in support of the Inclusive Excellence initiative. As one of 33 colleges selected in 2018, Mizzou will contribute to the initiative by improving efforts to engage all students in science—regardless of their backgrounds.

Marcelle Siegel
Marcell Siegel

“The University of Missouri will transform instructional, institutional and undergraduate experiences for students across the natural sciences through intensive community building and partnering efforts,” said Marcelle Siegel, associate professor of science education in the MU College of Education and College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and the principal investigator on the project. “MU’s efforts to strengthen science education will provide a powerful model for institutions nationally.”

The initiative, which partners with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, helps universities to engage in the process of culture change. Participating students could include underrepresented ethnic minorities, first‐generation college students and working adults with families.

“The goal of Mizzou’s efforts will be to strengthen relationships and align our programming with partner schools,” MU Interim Provost Jim Spain said. “We also will engage with learning communities of students, faculty and staff to develop a culture of inclusive excellence, by empowering participants in the practice of science.”

News coverage of the grant award: Columbia Tribune Columbia Missourian Brownfield Ag News St. Louis Business Journal

Specific goals of Mizzou’s project include enhancing Mizzou’s inclusive culture and capacity through building relationships with community colleges, historically black colleges and Columbia Public Schools. Additionally, the project will seek to enhance inclusivity by working with faculty and advisers in a number of ways, including team mentoring and providing educational videos and other resources. Finally, the project will enhance the retention of undergraduate students by developing peer mentoring networks, leadership development and extracurricular programming designed to stress the importance of inclusion, diversity and equity.

“Mizzou has actively engaged in bringing diversity into the sciences and, in order to achieve scientific merit, various viewpoints must be considered when finding creative solutions to the challenges facing Missouri and beyond,” said Kevin McDonald, UM System chief diversity officer and MU vice chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. “I look forward to Mizzou playing a vital role in shaping how science education and engagement can enhance our world. We look forward to contributing to this collaboration with our fellow institutions.”

Terrell Morton
Terrell Morton

The project team led by Siegel includes Terrell Morton, Preparing Future Faculty postdoctoral fellow for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum in the College of Education; Charles Nilon, professor in the School of Natural Resources in CAFNR; Johannes Schul, professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science; and Spain who also serves as a professor of animal sciences in CAFNR.

Other College of Education participants include Brad Curs, Department Chair for Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, as Evaluator with a Data Specialty, and Jill Ostrow, Associate Teaching Professor in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum as Evaluator with a Participatory Video Documentary Specialty.

“There will be many opportunities for collaboration with this grant in terms of institutional change, inclusive teaching, and research,” said Siegel. “Faculty will have opportunities to participate in Faculty Learning Communities with incentives, and we will be seeking undergraduate leaders to promote inclusive culture and community.”

For more on the Inclusive Excellence Initiative, please see HHMI’s press release here. Read the original MU News Bureau release here.

Story Contact(s):
Jeff Sossamon,, 573-882-3346