Having created a strong record of achievement in developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs that focus on recruitment of Hispanic students and enhancement of their academic success, NMSU was recently selected as one of 10 institutions to participate in a study of minority males in STEM fields. The study is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and coordinated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The goal of the study is to provide leading public education institutions with the tools, information, and perspectives that will assist them in identifying, retaining, and graduating minority males in STEM fields. Those institutions that were selected are considered “exemplary STEM institutions” that share certain common features such as:
- Participation in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) national STEM program
- Participation in the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation
- Strong leadership from regents, president, provost, deans, and department heads
- Campus-wide commitment to inclusiveness
- Deliberate process of self-appraisal focused on campus climate
- Plan to implement constructive change
- Ongoing evaluation of implementation efforts in STEM
The universities participating in the study will respond to a survey designed to collect information on the perceptions and experiences of minority male students in STEM disciplines. The target audiences for this survey will include students, administrators, and faculty members. According to the chair for the Study Task Force, E. Gordon Gee, “The findings from this study will provide a valuable blueprint for our efforts to better serve all students, as well as move us much closer to increasing degree attainment in STEM disciplines for underrepresented populations, specifically minority males.
In partnership with the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, the College of Education has been very active in promoting STEM education for underrepresented students. Ongoing programs, many of which are funded by NSF, provide professional development for teachers and administrators at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels so that they can more effectively support STEM learning for all students, but most particularly for underrepresented minorities. These programs include Mathematically Connected Communities (MC2), Leadership Institute for Teachers (MC2 LIFT), Scientifically Connected Communities (SC2), and Scaling Up Mathematics Achievement (SUMA). The Academy for Young Scientists and the Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy provide opportunities for underrepresented students and their families to explore STEM fields through hands-on, inquiry-based activities. Now, participation in the Sloan-funded study will add even greater depth to NMSU’s record of recruiting, developing, and graduating minorities in the STEM fields through campus-wide collaborations.