June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Two Year College Division
24.1246.1 - 24.1246.16
The STEM Center: Creating a Model for Success in Community College STEM EducationIn 2012, President Obama called for 1 million new STEM graduates within the next decade. Thiscall to action was met with a myriad of local and federal educational initiatives, STEM-specificgrant funding, and an emergence of STEM programming at every level of our education system.This new momentum also focuses on the under-representation of minorities and women pursuingSTEM. As a federally-designated Hispanic-serving community college, our goal of producingmore STEM-educated students is embedded within a complex web of obstacles and challenges.In response to these challenges, we identified four key obstacles faced by a majority of ourcommunity college students interested in STEM: 1) lack of awareness of academic options, 2)exponential attrition – the longer the course sequence the less likely students are to persist, 3)lack of social and academic integration, and 4) low self-efficacy – students do not believe thatthey can succeed in STEM.In an effort to address these obstacles and integrate all STEM student support services withinSTEM academic study, we created the STEM Center. Leveraging multiple grants and a varietyof STEM programs and services with a unified vision, the STEM Center now provides a one-stop destination for everything from study groups, tutoring, and club meetings to bridgeprograms (like the award-winning Math Jam), a STEM Speaker Series, STEM specific academiccounseling, STEM career exploration programs for high school students, internship andscholarship opportunities, and STEM faculty professional development.While success of the STEM Center’s individual programs is specifically linked to programobjectives and outcomes, gauging success of the STEM Center as a whole is done through abroad-based examination of four primary indicators: increased enrollment in STEM courses;reduced time to complete STEM course sequences; increased student engagement, retention, andpersistence; and an increase in the number of STEM majors.This paper will outline STEM Center development, highlight the programs and services that areoffered, examine success indicators, and discuss obstacles that have been addressed throughoutthis process. Finally, we will outline best practices for creating a strong and unified STEMsupport network at the community college level that leverages a variety of funding resources andproven methodologies to increase student success in STEM education.
Camacho, A. M., & Redding Lapuz, D. (2014, June), The STEM Center: Creating a Model for Success in Community College STEM Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23179
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