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4. Campus Projects to Shape Policy and Advocate for STEM Education

Critical Path Analysis of the Illinois STEM Pipeline

Caterpillar Foundation
Lizanne DeStefano
I-STEM Education Initiative

Caterpillar has provided seed funding for a study of the STEM pipeline in Illinois. Working with corporate partners, IBHE (Illinois Board of Higher Education) and ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education), the study will develop accurate projections of the need for STEM teachers in Illinois schools, track STEM course taking and performance of Illinois youth through high school and postsecondary, and map the number and distribution of STEM majors in Illinois colleges and universities against current and future state workforce needs.

Underrepresented Undergraduates in STEM at Large Research Universities: From Matriculation to Degree Completion

National Science Foundation Award # 0856309

Dates: September 29, 2009–June 30, 2014 (estimated)

  1. William Trent
    Educational Policy Studies

This is a three-year study that is examining the matriculation, persistence, and degree attainment of full-time, first-time enrolled women, minorities, and low-income undergraduate students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields at a consortium of 11 large research universities. This project is using statistical and qualitative research methods to identify key individual and institutional factors that affect underrepresented students' matriculation, persistence, and degree completion in the STEM fields. It is evaluating the impact of course offerings, policies and practices, and program interventions designed to increase educational outcomes. This study is contributing to understanding by using large samples of underrepresented students and placing them into meaningful categories (by racial/ethnic sub-group, academic preparation, and STEM major), as well as the intersection with critical demographic characteristics, such as socioeconomic status.

The findings from the study are intended to increase understanding about how postsecondary institutions can use mechanisms and program interventions to improve the persistence and degree attainment of underrepresented students in the STEM fields. The study will benefit the academic community by creating a graduate-level course to be offered to students enrolled at any CIC institution to discuss the empirical, methodological, policy, and program issues that impact the representation of women and minorities in the STEM fields, with specific attention to students attending large research universities.

Underrepresented Undergraduates in STEM: The Impact of Recruitment and Retention Intervention Programs at Large, Research-Intensive, Public Universities

Ford Foundation
William Trent
Educational Policy Studies

This project contributes to understanding of key factors affecting underrepresented students’ matriculation and degree completion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It seeks insights on how postsecondary institutions can use interventions to promote persistence and attainment. Findings will inform policymakers and postsecondary administrators about “successful” interventions. Programmatically, the results can help inform the development and implementation of interventions to attract and retain underrepresented students. The study aids in identifying how interventions offered by institutions impact underrepresented students’ enrollment, persistence, and success in STEM fields.