NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Student Success Update

Recruitment and Retention Efforts for Fall 2021

The Office of First Year Programs and the Undergraduate Advising Center are working collaboratively to recruit and retain students for the fall semester. For Fall 2021, 3,138 students have been admitted to NSM through the UH automatic admission and College review process, which looks at high school performance in math and science coursework for outstanding students in low-income high schools. NSM aims to increase enrollment by 2-3% each academic year (goal of at least 1,000 FTICs).

Enrollment numbers are slowly improving, but it is evident that the pandemic is still impacting the decision to enroll in college courses. Below is an outline of some activities that have been initiated to get students enrolled.

  • Weekly/bi-weekly emails and texts are being sent to all NSM students regarding the newly adopted TCCNS numbers, updates to policies/procedures, deadlines, etc.
  • Emails/texts have been sent to non-enrolled continuing students encouraging them to reach out to their advisors for assistance with any questions they may have regarding getting enrolled. Updates have also been posted to pertinent websites to ensure that the proper information is communicated to the students in multiple formats.
  • Email communications are being planned for students who have signed up for NSM’s in-person orientations which will be held during July.

Office of First Year Program Updates

The Office of First Year Programs is hard at work this summer planning for a strong return for the fall semester. Below is an outline of the activities.

  • Student Leadership Program: 30 new Student Leaders have been on-boarded for recruiting, mentoring, and event planning. There are now 52 students in the Student Leadership Program. Student Leadership Program Celebration
  • Student Leadership Program Celebration: The Student Leadership Program held an end-of-year celebration at Hermann Park. The celebration allowed the students to be recognized for their accomplishments and their mentees’ accomplishments. The socially distanced in-person event was also live-streamed with 20 students in attendance. The students are looking forward to engagement in activities in the fall.
  • Mentoring Programs: The Peer Mentor Team hopes to guide over 100 freshmen in the NSM Mentorship Program while they navigate the transition from high school to college. In addition, 25 transfer students will participate in the Transfer Mentorship Program where they will be mentored by faculty and staff. If you are interested in becoming a faculty/staff mentor to 1-2 transfer students in the fall, please fill out the survey. (Related Article)
  • Social Media: The Office of First Year Program’s Instagram account (@nsmfirstyear) will highlight information about its programming activities and campus resources. This information will be geared toward helping first- and second-year students who may not have had the opportunity to explore campus. More information will be sent through the Faculty/Staff Newsletter, but please consider following us on Instagram so that you can be up-to-date on the events/activities and how you can get engaged with the students.

TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy Kicked Off June 7

June 7 was the first day of NSM’s TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy. The nine-week program, held online again this year, creates a pathway for incoming freshmen not admitted to their first choice major in NSM or Engineering and provides additional support. This is the third year of Sumer Scholars Academy.

The 2021 cohort of 46 participants has the opportunity to earn credit for Calculus 1, complete an Introduction to Chemistry course, set academic and career goals during a College Success course, and get support through Scholar Enrichment Program workshops. The program includes Lunch and Learn events hosted by TC Energy and the newly created Summer Scholars Talks Series. The Scholars Talks Series was created to help students improve emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and skills that will prepare them not only for the classroom, but everyday life.

Participants completing the program will gain admission into their first choice major in NSM or Engineering and be offered the opportunity to participate in the NSF Grant (Award #1832534): Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program which provides students additional mentoring and support as well as research opportunities.

Houston GPS Online Labs Meeting

A meeting of natural sciences representatives from the various Houston GPS institutions was held on June 3 to discuss online laboratories. A discussion of pre-pandemic lab practices and online curriculum during the pandemic was held. Future plans, the potential impacts of online labs on student readiness for advanced labs, and impacts on maintaining American Chemical Society Certification and ABET accreditation were discussed. Thank you to the many department chairs and lab coordinators across NSM who participated in the discussion.

teachHOUSTON’s NSF 2021 STEM for All Video Receives Public Choice Award

National Science Foundation 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase The teachHOUSTON program entered the National Science Foundation 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase which highlighted teacher education programs’ engagement of students during the pandemic and strategies for addressing equity and social justice in education. The video featured the teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive free virtual summer experience. It was selected out of the 287 videos showcased for one of the 13 Public Choice Awards. Thanks to all the faculty and staff for your support and for viewing and voting for the video.

The teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive program is happening again this year from June 14-25, and its leaders will continue to adapt and transform their ideas of what teaching and learning can be during the pandemic. Thank you to the NSM faculty who provided short videos for the “Meet Our Expert” section of each lesson.