Louisiana State University (LSU)’s Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) is an award-winning office devoted to developing effective, educational approaches that incorporate guidance and exploration, increase students’ academic standing, and support measures to improve the institution’s diversity, predominantly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments. Through the incorporation of three main factors, Mentoring, Education, and Research, OSI has developed a holistic development model that offers students strategies to overcome those factors that affect their persistence in STEM. OSI houses several programs with a diverse population of students ranging from the high school to doctoral levels. Although varied in student population, these programs unite under the holistic development model to provide support and opportunities to students at each critical educational juncture. OSI’s holistic approach has successfully supported over 135 high school, 560 undergraduate, and 100 graduate students. Of the 560 undergraduate students served, 51% were underrepresented minorities and 55% were women. The undergraduate initiatives have garnered 445 bachelor’s degrees, with 395 degrees from STEM disciplines, and an impressive overall graduation rate ranging from 64% to 84%. Through all of the remarkable work performed in OSI, the greatest accomplishment has been the capacity to offer students from mixed backgrounds tools and strategies to thrive at any point in their academic career.
Williams, T.M., Crawford, M.B., Hooper-Bui, L.M., Givens, S., Lavender, H., Watt, S. and Warner, I.M. (2019), "LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives: A Great Equalizer for Broadening Participation in STEM", Broadening Participation in STEM (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-364420190000022001
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