The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is currently implementing the STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) to promote the success of STEM students in the early years of their undergraduate programs, and to ensure that greater number of STEM students graduate. To help identify "best practices" and to further understanding of factors influencing STEM recruitment and retention, STEP also funds educational research projects focused on degree attainment in STEM. The imperative of this work is to fulfill the Institution's mantra of Access and Excellence to a growing population of college students, the majority of whom are Hispanic, in the largest bi-national community along the US-Mexico border. STEP promotes retention and graduation of students from STEM disciplines by developing strategies that focus on critical STEM areas including but not limited to:
- Deepening students understanding of essential STEM coursework (Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics) via the state of Texas Star Award nominated "Two-Plus-Two (TPT)" model for Peer-Led-team Learning. This model enables advanced undergraduate peer leaders to teach every student enrolled in these fundamental courses using a guided-process and inquiry-based strategy in a small group settings.
- Expanding the academic horizons of a selected cadre of sophomore and junior students via an alternative teaching certification academy, which will allow students to explore opportunities in science education careers.