June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Minorities in Engineering
22.1499.1 - 22.1499.9
The Role of Faculty in the Retention of African American Gifted students in STEM programs in HBCUsa) Statement of the ProblemAs part of a larger study examining the experiences of African American studentsenrolled in STEM disciplines in HBCU’s; the purpose of this qualitative study is toexplore the experiences of African American gifted students in STEM programsand to explore the role that faculty plays in the retention of these students. Previousstudies have shown numerous ways in which historically Black colleges anduniversities (HBCUs) offer more supportive educational environments for Blackstudents than do predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Few studies havefocused on the experiences of African American students in STEM disciplines inHBCUs. Thus, it is important to understand how African American studentsperceive their experiences in STEM programs, especially the relationships theyestablished with faculty, which was the focus of this study.b) Literature reviewMinority students remain an underrepresented group in STEM disciplines. Eventhough multiple studies have been done during the last decade, the situation hasnot improved in the twenty first century. Faculty has been studied in the literature asplaying a mayor role in the decision of students to stay or leave higher educationprograms. One characteristics that has remained constant throughout theinstitution’s history is the personal academic relationships that faculty at HBCUsestablish with their students and the role these relationships plays in the retention ofAfrican American students.c) MethodologyThe methodology used in this study is exploratory and descriptive with the intent toidentify and describe the experiences of African American students in HBCUs andthe role faculty have played in the students’ persistence in STEM programs. Nineinstitutions participated in this qualitative study; and 14 focus groups interviewswere conducted with gifted students. The students were enrolled in both public andprivate universities and were pursuing a variety of engineering and STEM majors.Three different sources of data collection were utilized: interviews with students,interviews with faculty, and document analysis.d) FindingsFrom the data analysis of this study emerged findings related to the role facultyplays in the retention of STEM students in HBCUs. The first finding pertains to therelationship that student develop with faculty and the support students perceivedfrom their professors; students also described the lack of black faculty among theSTEM disciplines, and the struggles experienced to establish personal relationshipswith some professors. The second finding conveys to the impact of teaching in thestudents experiences.e) ConclusionsThe experiences of the participants in this study offer both challenges andopportunities to engineering and science programs. Retention of African Americanstudents is important and can be enhanced when cultural factors are taken intoconsideration. In addition, the experiences of African American students can helpinstitutions to be proactive and creative in order to help faculty and administratorsprovide an environment in which students can be successful.
Villa, C. G., & Nave, F. M., & Frizell, S. S., & Alfred, M. V., & Bonner, F. A. (2011, June), The Role of Faculty in the Retention of African American Gifted students in STEM programs in HBCUs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18889
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