Broadening Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Despite decades of investment in STEM education and infrastructure, the nation’s institutions of higher learning are not producing enough qualified graduates commensurate to the speed at which our scientific and technological economy is growing. Equally concerning are the great disparities along gender, race, and ethnic lines at all levels of STEM education and careers. The nation’s minority populations remain severely underrepresented in science and engineering, contrary to their status as the fastest growing sector of the population.
The national STEM workforce imperative and the equity challenge among diverse populations in the United States thus require critical examination. IHEP is a proud partner of the Broadening Participation in STEM project, led by the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes of Research and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project seeks to implement a process of analysis and engagement to enhance and improve NSF‘s direction and approach to broadening the participation of our diverse citizenry in STEM fields. As the premier federal granting agency in STEM research and education, NSF proposes to invest over $7 billion in these areas for fiscal year 2011.
Over the course of one year, the project team will conduct trends analysis of underrepresented minority STEM enrollment and graduation over time at non-minority- and minority-serving institutions of higher education across the United States. Complementary to this analysis will be a series of stakeholder convenings from all sectors of the STEM community, including STEM students, scholars and professionals; social scientists; leaders in K-12 and higher education; federal agencies (including NSF); and federal policymakers and policyshapers with a vested interest in growing America’s STEM talent pool.
Finally, the project team will produce a thorough review of the literature on proven interventions that result in increasing access and success for underrepresented students in STEM majors and careers; namely, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
This includes the analysis of extant reports from NSF’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Programs (TCUP).
Taken together, this mixed methods approach and consideration of social science research to date will contribute to the evidentiary basis for NSF’s Broadening Participation programming and will in turn offer substantial evidence to suggest a core set of factors or interventions to potentially give NSF a higher yield to its investments across institutional types.
Additional details about Broadening Participation in STEM will be announced soon.
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