A major research institute within a large land-grant university seeks to foster collaborations between research faculty at the land-grant institution and faculty and students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Not only is the intent to help initiate and foster these research collaborations, but to advise HBCUs/MSIs students of the myriad of opportunities available to them to include experiential learning opportunities, undergraduate and graduate laboratory access, summer research programs, available scholarships and exposure to the graduate programs offered. The research institute initiated a Diversity and Inclusion Seed Investment funding program. Starting in fiscal year 2017, $203,480 was invested in 20 faculty to assist them with establishing and solidifying HBCU-MSI partnerships. Feedback has been continually collected to improve the program, now in its third year. In this paper, we first describe the original intent of the funding opportunity, how the opportunity has changed since its inception and how impactful this investment model has been. Preliminary findings will be presented, major criteria for funding will be explained, and outcome measures will be explored to assess the effectiveness of the program. Lastly, we present our plan for a more comprehensive assessment strategy, which moves beyond quantitative measures to investigate participants’ experiences of inclusion.
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