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Title:NUPRIME (Northeastern University Programs in Multicultural Engineering) records
Dates:1981-1997 (bulk 1992-1996)
Call Number:A69

Historical Note

Northeastern University Programs in Multicultural Engineering (NUPRIME), Pre-NUPRIME, and the Northeastern University Comprehensive Regional Center for Minorities (NUCRCM) were initiatives directed by David C. Blackman, Assistant Dean and Director of Minority Affairs, College of Engineering, 1975-1999.

NUPRIME was established in 1974 to recruit and support minority students in the College of Engineering, the College of Computer Science, and the Engineering Technology program. Based in the College of Engineering, NUPRIME assists over 200 students each year by providing academic and financial support, including scholarships and loans, mathematics and physics workshops, one-on-one tutoring, and career counseling. NUPRIME also provides advisory support for minority engineering student organizations, including the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS), the Haitian Student Unity Club, and the Hispanic Society of Professional Engineers. NUPRIME receives financial support from corporate sponsors and granting agencies. Until the late 1990s, the program was known as Northeastern University Progress in Minorities in Engineering.

Pre-NUPRIME was founded in 1979 to increase the number of qualified minority high school students pursuing careers in the engineering professions. In particular, the program attempted to prepare students for admission to NU's College of Engineering or Computer Science. Most of the materials in the collection pertain to the program sponsored by Sippican, Inc., a defense electronics contractor located in Marion, Mass. This program was open to students in grades 9-12 living in Marion, Mattapoisset, Wareham, and Rochester, Mass. Participating students attended math and physics classes one night per week during the school year. Students also received career and financial aid counseling, learned about various careers in science and engineering, and participated in recreational and cultural activities. A similar program (not sponsored by Sippican) ran in the Boston/Cambridge area. After 1997, Sippican, Inc. shifted its pre-engineering partnership to the University of Massachusetts.

Northeastern University's Comprehensive Regional Center for Minorities (NUCRCM) was established in 1993 to increase the number of minorities in technical and scientific professions by providing students with academic and personal support in grades K-12. NUCRCM initially collaborated with a group of 15-18 schools in the Boston and Cambridge area. The principals and headmasters of these schools formed their own administrative body, the Confederation of Principals and Headmasters, in 1993. This organization worked with NUCRCM to plan programs and communicate information to teachers at member schools. NUCRCM sponsored many programs for students, teachers, and parents. Programs for students included algebra, calculus, and physics workshops; standardized test preparation courses; after school tutoring; and Engineering Week at Polaroid, during which students received an introduction to various engineering careers. Parent programs included workshops on the college application process, decision-making strategies, and stress management. NUCRCM was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1993-1998.

Both NUPRIME and NUCRCM collaborated with and offered guidance to many other Boston-area institutions. One major collaborator was the Boston Public Schools, which collaborated with NUCRCM via the Confederation of Principals and Headmasters to offer programming to students and teachers. BPS also partnered with NUPRIME and NUCRCM to apply to two National Science Foundation grant programs: the Local Systemic Change program in 1996, and Urban Systemic Initiatives in 1997. Neither of these grants was successful.

Additional collaborators include the Principals' Center at Harvard Graduate School of Education, an organization dedicated to the personal and professional development of school principals. In 1996 NUCRCM and the Principals' Center sponsored the Principals' Institute in Science and Mathematics (PRISM). The Institute was designed for principals and directors of Urban Systemic Initiatives projects throughout the United States. Participating teachers attended a one-week seminar on math and science reform in July and August 1996. In 1994, NUCRCM partnered with the H. Dudley Wright Center at Tufts University to create a workshop for middle- and high-school teachers, and collaborated with the Noyce Foundation to create a proposal for the Boston Pride School of Math and Science, a Boston charter school.

MATH Excel, a program initiated in 1991 by the NU Mathematics Department and funded by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, attempted to increase the number of people in math, science, and engineering careers by providing rigorous training in mathematics. Students in the MATH Excel program were eligible to participate in the science and engineering programs offered by NUPRIME. In 1993, The Massachusetts Pre-Engineering Program (Mass-PEP) and NUCRCM collaborated to create a series college-level calculus workshops for high school students. Mass-PEP is based at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The program's mission is to attract and assist minority students in grades 6-12 who are interested in engineering and prepare them for admission to a college-level science and engineering program through workshops and seminars. David Blackman was also a member of the Partnerships Advancing the Learning of Mathematics and Science (PALMS) Executive Committee, a program initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Education in conjunction with the National Science Foundation to systemically change and improve the way mathematics and science are taught and learned in grades K-12. Phase I of the project occurred from 1992-1997.