About NSF AGEP

The California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (California Alliance) consists of the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; Stanford University; and California Institute of Technology.

It has been established to ensure that underrepresented minority (URM) PhDs from our alliance institutions, in much larger numbers, aspire to and populate the ranks of the postdoctoral population, the faculty at competitive research and teaching institutions, the federally funded national laboratories, and scientific think tanks. These are placements for which the California Alliance institutions are exceptionally capable of preparing graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and these are precisely the positions in which underrepresentation is most pronounced and seemingly the most intractable nationally.

The California Alliance will focus on increasing diversity in the academic fields with the greatest national underrepresentation of minorities: the mathematical, physical, and computer sciences; and engineering (MPCS&E).

To accomplish this, the California Alliance will:

  1. Create an unprecedented community of practice across the four institutions that include graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and key administrators.
  2. Engage faculty as mentors to advance URM students’ careers across these four institutions.
  3. Develop, implement, evaluate and set new standards for professional development.
  4. Promote URM PhD advancement to faculty and postdoctoral ranks in STEM through new partnerships and using new tools, and in partnership with federally funded national laboratories.
  5. Conduct research that leverages the architecture of the California Alliance to identify which of the specific programs and initiatives that are in effect in research universities working to increase diversity are most impactful in ensuring URM students’ success and professional ascension in the MPCS&E fields, and more generally within STEM.

The program is built on a foundation of research in the social psychology of belonging, identity, and achievement, as well as the social anthropology of learning, and the sociology of the professions.

NSF logoFunding Sources: NSF 1306595, 1306683, 1306709, 1306747, 1306760

Principal Investigators: Mark Richards, UC Berkeley; Joseph Shepherd, Caltech; Page Chamberlain, Stanford; Robin Garrell, UCLA

For more information, please contact Taifha Alexander, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator: talexander@grad.ucla.edu

The National Science Foundation funds the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. The primary goals of AGEP are to (a) significantly increase the number of underrepresented minorities (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders) obtaining graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and ( b) enhance the preparation of underrepresented minorities for faculty positions in academia.

AGEP employs a strategy of supporting alliances of doctoral-granting institutions to accomplish these goals. The effectiveness of the AGEP approach can be attributed to a variety of factors, including leveraging of shared resources, thinking creatively to produce more supportive and proactive graduate infrastructure, and committing to attain ambitious goals with respect to increasing minority doctoral degree production.

Former NSF AGEP Funded Programs

Competitive Edge
The Competitive Edge program is currently funded through the UCLA Graduate Division. Formerly, the program was funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) grant. This program is for newly admitted, entering doctoral students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with a strong interest in pursuing a faculty or research position.

UCLA AGEP – Advancing through the Academy – This program is no longer active. This program provided travel awards for STEM graduate students, Scientific Excellence through Diversity Seminar Series, and partnered with STEM-PLEDGE, a graduate student STEM organization.

UCLA DIGSSS – The DIGSSS program is no longer active. This program was awarded first-year doctoral students in the social, behavioral and economic (SBE) sciences programs. This program provided financial and academic support for doctoral students in specific fields to assist them in making a successful transition to doctoral studies by becoming fully engaged academically during the period between their first and second years.