DSU gets $1.8 million for STEM education program`

From left: Dr. Clytrice Watson, former principal investigator, Dr. Anthea Aikins, Dr. Gwendolyn Scott-Jones, Dr. Venu Kalavacharla, Co-PI, Dr. Marcel Poe, Co-PI, Dr. Delayne Johnson, Co-PI, Dr. Charlie Wilson, PI, and Dr. Kylie Parrotta, Co-PI. The faculty pictured here are  implementing DSU’s Transforming Education through Active Learning initiative.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded DSU a five-year $1.8 million HBCU-UP grant in support of the university’s Transforming Education through Active Learning (TEAL) initiative.

Seen as a way to expand experiential learning to transform STEM education at DSU and increase the retention of students enrolled in science and engineering programs, the HBCU-UP grant ultimately assists DSU in greatly achieving its strategic goal of Student Success.

TEAL will transform first and second-year laboratory courses by introducing students to research through authentic inquiry activities. The grant will help fund the redesign of traditional laboratory exercises to connect the research to real-world problems, a release stated.

The student success initiative includes the development of a peer teaching and learning model to develop the leadership skills of advance students to help prepare them for graduate school or employment. The initiative also seeks to bridge the gap of understanding between DSU and potential employers through the development of partnerships and internship opportunities.


The original principal investigator of the grant was Dr. Clytrice Watson, who was formerly the interim dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology. Because she recently assumed a temporary position at the NSF, the new interim dean, Dr. Charlie Wilson, chair of the Dept. of Biological Sciences, has taken over as the principal investigator. Dr. Wilson has also assumed the college’s interim dean post in Dr. Watson’s absence.

Key individuals in the TEAL initiative are:

Anthea Aikins, assistant professor of biological sciences

  • Cherese Winstead-Casson, chair of the Dept. of Chemistry
  • Gwendolyn Scott-Jones, chair of the Dept. of Psychology
  • Venu Kalavacharla, professor of ag and natural resources
  • Marcel Poe, co-PI and director of the CMNST Advisement Center
  • Delayne Johnson, co-PI and assistant professor of mathematics
  • Bill Means, director of the Career Center
  • Kylie Parrotta, co-PI and associate professor of sociology and criminal justice
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