Dr. Orlando L. Taylor, President of The Chicago School’s Washington, DC Campus and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, participated in a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 16th on the Ronald E McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The McNair Program is a vital part of the equation for the United States to produce a highly qualified, well prepared, and diverse faculty that will be required for the country’s colleges and universities to remain competitive in the global marketplace. According to Dr. Taylor, a former Mc Nair Program Director, McNair is among the very best undergraduate programs in the country that prepares and places students in graduate school, where they subsequently enjoy enormous success, obtain doctoral degrees and become prepared for the professoriate.
Despite its strong track record of success, the Department of Education recently cut $10 million from the McNair program. This funding cut will eliminate more than one-third (36.5%) of the current programs.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, Dr. McNair logged a total of 191 hours in space. Dr. McNair died on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress – led by Senators Paul Simon (D-IL) and Strom Thurmond (R-SC) – chose to honor the legacy of Dr. Ronald E. McNair through the establishment of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. As part of the Federal TRIO Programs (“TRIO”), the McNair Program prepares low-income, first-generation and minority undergraduates for careers in academia. By providing research opportunities, faculty mentoring and counseling, admission test preparation and financial aid, the McNair program has helped approximately 2,500 alumni achieve doctoral degrees over the last quarter century.
In addition to Dr. Taylor's testimony, TCSPP has signed a letter, along with numerous other organizations, expressing our concern over the funding cut to the McNair program. The letter showing our support for the McNair Program was sent to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.