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