Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Diversity and Undergraduate Education
This study advances understanding about inclusion, equity and diversity in efforts to broaden participation, transform institutional leadership, and promote student-centered success strategies in academia. The researchers employed qualitative systematic review (QSR) to investigate key factors associated with recruitment, retention, and related career attainment in computational science and other STEM fields for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. The study is grounded in a review of the literature on stereotype threat in academic settings. Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as a self-characteristic, negative stereotypes about one’s social group (Steele and Aronson, 1995). Mechanisms involved in stereotype threat include reduced working memory capacity, changes in physiological processes, lowered performance expectations, negative cognitions, and anxiety. Research suggests stereotype threat can be disruptive enough to impair intellectual performance for students, particularly in undergraduate STEM programs. Although research on the link between stereotype threat and STEM program outcomes is relatively new, initiatives have been implemented in a variety of post-secondary education settings with the goal of enhancing outcomes for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, using culturally-relevant cognitive and non-cognitive practices. In this study, researchers employ QSR to analyze findings across 25 case studies related to promising practices for reducing the impact of stereotype threat in STEM fields for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. This paper then presents a framework, derived from the findings of the QSR analysis, to describe a proposed theory of change for reducing stereotype threat in academic settings. Three areas are illustrated in the framework: campus institutional fabric and the role of institutional actors in mitigating stereotype threat; examples of evidence-based practices; and, potential STEM program and workforce outcomes. This framework offers a new perspective on the topic of inclusion and transforming institutional leadership in undergraduate STEM programs. The framework also has strong potential to transfer in other academic programs.
Thomas, N., & Erdei, R. (2018, April), Stemming Stereotype Threat: Recruitment, Retention, and Degree Attainment in STEM Fields for Undergraduates from Underrepresented Backgrounds Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://strategy.asee.org/29579
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