McNair grant to boost Ph.D. studies

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will now have an opportunity to gain assistance with their doctoral studies through a $1.1 million Ronald E. McNair Grant, which BGSU was awarded this year by the U.S. Department of Education.

The goal of the grant is to increase the attainment of doctoral degrees among underrepresented students by helping prepare them for graduate school.

Named after an astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion, the grant will help 25 sophomore students. Students have not yet been selected for the program; academic departments will be contacted in January for student referrals.

To be eligible, students must be committed to attending graduate school after receiving their bachelor’s degree and have a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Accepted students will be partnered with a faculty member who will assist them to develop their research skills.  According to Sidney Childs, director of Student Support Services and the new McNair Scholars Program, students in the program will gain the necessary skills for doctoral study and eventual careers in university teaching and research.

“This program will provide a platform for minority and underrepresented undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain a Ph.D. degree by strengthening their research skills, performing scholarly activities at a higher level and gaining a better understanding of graduate education requirements,” said Dr. Heinz Bulmahn, dean of the Graduate College.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded BGSU a rare five-year grant. Most McNair grants are offered for only four years, Childs said. BGSU was offered the longer-term award because its grant proposal scored within the top 10 percent of applicants. Proposals are rated based on responses to several questions, such as what objectives the university has to make students successful, how the university will ensure that students learn to partake in high-quality research and how the faculty will be involved.

"I'm excited Bowling Green received the grant.  It encourages collaboration between student and academic affairs, and it is another opportunity for students to connect to the University," Childs said.

Student Support Services and the newly funded Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program are in the Division of Student Affairs.

January 7, 2008