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The Role of Faculty in the Retention of African American Gifted students in STEM programs in HBCUs

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Build Diversity in Engineering Graduate Programs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

22.1499.1 - 22.1499.9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--18889

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18889

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

biography

Carmen G. Villa Texas A&M University

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Carmen Villa works at the College of Engineering at Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City. She received a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science Engineering from Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City; a D.E.A. in Computer Science from the INPG in Grenoble, France; and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University. Her interest in education has grown out of her more than 15 years of teaching experience and her passion for equity in higher education. Her research interests include underrepresented populations in higher education, more specifically in STEM disciplines, and cultural practices and their impact on education for Hispanic students.

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biography

Felecia M. Nave Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. Felecia M. Nave is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Associate Provost & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. In addition, she is presently a member of the Texas A&M University System graduate faculty.

Dr. Nave has received over $2.8M in funding from agencies such as the NSF, DOD, Engineering Information Foundation and PVAMU research foundation to advance both her technical and education related research agenda.

She has invested extensively in K-12 Outreach, participates in various speaking engagements and demonstrations, and encouraging K-12 students to pursue careers in STEM fields. .

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Sherri S. Frizell Prairie View A&M University

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Sherri S. Frizell is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Prairie View A&M University. Her research interests include educational technology, social computing, women issues in engineering, and gifted and talented African-Americans in STEM.

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Mary V. Alfred Texas A&M University

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Mary Alfred is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Associate Professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development. She researches and publishes in the area of teaching and learning among diverse populations.

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Fred Arthur Bonner II Texas A&M University

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Fred A. Bonner, II, is Professor of Higher Education Administration and Associate Dean of Faculties at Texas A&M University-College Station. He received a B.A. in chemistry from the University of North Texas, an M.S.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University, and an Ed.D. in higher education administration and college teaching from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Dr. Bonner has been the recipient of the American Association for Higher Education Black Caucus Dissertation Award and the Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundation’s Dissertation of the Year Award from the University of Arkansas College of Education. Dr. Bonner spent the 2005 - 2006 year as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in the Office of the President at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Additionally, he has recently been awarded a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that focuses on factors influencing the success of high achieving African American students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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Abstract

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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