About PROMISE: The AGEP for Maryland

PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP

PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP is an alliance of the University System of Maryland. The new PROMISE AGEP: Maryland Transformation (AGEP-T) program began in Fall 2013, building upon earlier versions of the PROMISE AGEP program that was established in 2002. Information about the new AGEP-T program can be found in our post: https://promiseagep.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/new-nsf-promise-agep-grant-funded-until-2017-includes-university-system-of-maryland-ccbc-aacc-and-agmus/.

NSF Overview: PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP is a university system-wide effort for the state of Maryland to facilitate underrepresented STEM graduate student and postdoctoral professional development and pathways to careers. UMBC leads the alliance that consists of all 14 colleges, universities, and regional education centers in the University System of Maryland, four community colleges, and a former NSF Model Institution of Excellence Hispanic Serving Institution in Puerto Rico. PROMISE has been a critical catalyst for increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented minorities. The program also will contribute to the higher education literature on retention and professional development for graduate students and postdocs. The Rotating Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Professors-in-Training program for Maryland’s institutions (including Master’s serving institutions, HBCUs, community colleges, and an HSI) are among the innovations that respond to AGEP’s call to support the national goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who will enter academic STEM careers.

The project includes a research component to explore three research questions:

  • Does experience of micro-affirmations/micro-aggressions, a sense of belonging, professional networks, and mentoring experiences influence graduate student outcomes such as time to degree, persistence, job placement, and a sense of agency in career advancement?
  • How do these outcomes and experiences differ by student demographics, discipline, or institutional type?
  • What role does participation in the PROMISE AGEP play in these experiences and outcomes?

The goals of the proposed research are first to determine whether students in the second group are more likely to experience a sense of agency in career advancement, persist in their degree programs and STEM, have shorter time to degree, and find academic appointments post-graduation. Second, the research will explore how the PROMISE program facilitates access to these experiences, promoting educational outcomes for underrepresented minority students in STEM.

This state-wide alliance eliminates the “silo-effect” or independent STEM diversity efforts, and it promotes as a core mission the collaboration to expand and connect a community of scholars through the state. The state-wide alliance allows the institutions to provide pipelines and pathways between institutions for doctoral study, postdoctoral placements, and faculty appointments. 


Key activities: Professional development seminars, The Dissertation House, The Summer Success Institute (SSI), PROF-it: The Professors-in-Training program, other PROMISE events


Broadly, students can participate in PROMISE regardless of their status (full-time, part-time), ethnicity, discipline, or source of funding. Narrowly, students who are underrepresented will be strongly supported as they utilize the services and resources of PROMISE; these students can be encouraged to consider PROMISE to be one of their major mechanisms of support. Services and resources are available to underrepresented students, and to students of all ethnicities who work to achieve the goals of PROMISE.

About the national AGEP:  https://promiseagep.wordpress.com/about/

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