July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Educational Research and Methods
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have made significant contributions towards ensuring Black student participation, retention, and success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and continue to play a critical role in the production of Black graduates within these disciplines. Additionally, the pedagogical approaches, principles, and values characteristic of the HBCU experience have led to tremendous gains and success in promoting Black student achievement in STEM graduate programs. The dominance of HBCUs in the preparation of Black students for graduate programs suggests a need to better understand this under-explored success case and, in particular, the practices of these institutions to support prospective Black students as they explore and apply to graduate school. Therefore, our paper details the development of a survey instrument designed to uncover success metrics of Black students who successfully completed a bachelor’s degree at an HBCU and has, since then, successfully transitioned into, or completed, a graduate degree in science or engineering. Survey development was built around the aims to 1) advance the contemporary telling of the HBCU undergraduate experience as a pillar for Black graduate success in the engineering and science fields, as well as 2) provide nuance to the complex pathways that have characterized success for these HBCU Alumni.
Our motivation is to use this instrument to further highlight these success cases not only to institutional stakeholders at HBCUs, but also to stakeholders at predominately white institutions and other minority-serving institutions who strive to increase enrollment and persistence numbers for Black students in engineering and computing. To this end, this paper will describe the survey development process, including an overview of the initial survey drafted, development of its three key sections, the pilot process, outline of the final survey instrument crafted from our pilot feedback, and the strategies and considerations implemented leading up to and during the survey deployment process. The resulting survey seeks to gather data on three major sections: (1) the dimensions of institutional climate experienced by HBCU alumni at their undergraduate institution, (2) respondent perceptions of their graduate school pathways (from preparation for and completion of graduate school)), and (3) the dimensions of institutional climate and their individual success during our respondents’ graduate school experiences.
Survey development was informed by existing research on undergraduate student support, campus culture and climate, as well as relevant theoretical frameworks regarding STEM education and identity. We also engaged in a collaborative approach, having met with a diverse field of scholars from HBCUs and MSIs dedicated to STEM education and equity, as well as experts in quantitative research. This work seeks to shed light on the areas where additional resources would secure the continued and further success of Black STEM students across a wide variety of institutions. Additionally, we aim to amplify the voices of these success cases and highlight the continued need to support HBCUs in championing Black student participation and excellence in STEM, which is vital in ensuring the future of education in our country.
Fletcher, T. L., & Strong, A. C., & Jefferson, J. P., & Moten, J., & Park, S. E., & Adams, D. J. (2021, July), Exploring the Excellence of HBCU Scientists and Engineers: The Development of an Alumni Success Instrument Linking Undergraduate Experiences to Graduate Pathways Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37152
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