Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Minorities in Engineering
An Assessment of HBCU STEM Student Experiences: Towards the Development of a Student Persistence Model Work-in-Progress: Research Paper Students pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) may face difficult challenges in their journey to successfully complete their degrees. To address these challenges, it is important to identify problematic areas as well as needed areas of improvement in STEM programs, particularly engineering programs from student, faculty, and administrator perspectives. The purpose of the present research study is to identify barriers that may hinder students from the successful completion of a degree in STEM, such as Engineering by identifying common themes experienced in STEM programs at HBCUs.
A 24-item survey was developed from current literature and administered to current students, faculty, and administrators at HBCUs nationwide to gain insight into undergraduate student experiences in STEM (Terenzi & Reason, 2005; Seymour 2000). The survey items were carefully developed and categorized using 3 strategic and fundamental research thrusts, such as cultural intersectionality; institutional climate; and Engineering career trajectory to support efforts in broadening participation and student persistence. Thus, the survey elicited responses from students, faculty, and administrators based on these 3 areas. Participants were asked to rate items centered on their experiences and perspectives in their current STEM degree programs using a Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree, 6 = Not Sure). The participants were from 4 HBCUs nationwide. Majority of participants identified as Black or African American, 78% from Group 1 (henceforth referred to as Student Participants) and 51% from Group 2 (referred to as Faculty and Administrator Participants). Majority of participants also self-identified as male, 56% from Group 1 and 72% from Group 2. Additionally, most participants from Group 1 self-identified from various Engineering fields, such as the following: chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, and electrical engineering among others.
Primary barriers as indicated by the Student participants include the following: “Students lose confidence due to low grades in early STEM courses; Students have inadequate high school preparation in study skills; and Students are overwhelmed by the fast-paced STEM courses.” The top barriers indicated by the Faculty and Administrator Participants include the following: “Students have inadequate high school preparation in study skills; Students have inadequate high school preparation in STEM subjects; and Students lose confidence due to low grades in early STEM courses.” Comparing the findings of the two groups, it is remarkable that the top barriers for both groups share the same theme for 2 out of the 3 barriers. Further analyses indicated that gender differences for the Student Participants occurred on the following survey items: “Students have inadequate access to lab or lab facilities” and “Students think STEM career options are not worth effort to get degree.” These findings will support the development and the structure of an operational model to address cultural intersectionality; institutional climate; and Engineering career trajectory in Engineering programs as HBCUs and nationally.
Brady, S. E., & Little, G. E., & Crumpton-Young, L. L., & Bhaduri, S. (2018, June), An Assessment of HBCU STEM Student Experiences: Toward the Development of a Student Persistence Model Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29776
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