chapter  7
16 Pages

Supporting the Dream: The Role of Faculty Members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Promoting STEM PhD Education

ByPhD Education Shannon Gray

The intention of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) has been to open educational doors and to create career pathways for a group of people marginalized by U.S. educational institutions. Black colleges are pivotal in educating Black students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Pearson & Fecher, 1994; Perna et al., 2009). According to Mullen (2001), STEM majors are highly concentrated at the most selective institutions, but Blacks represent a small proportion of students attending those schools, leaving a considerable number of Blacks to be educated in science and mathematics at less selective institutions. HBCUs outnumber predominantly White institutions (PWIs) in awarding degrees to Black students in most STEM disciplines (Perna et al., 2009; Southern Education Foundation [SEF], 2005). Likewise, HBCU students have higher degree aspirations than Black students at PWIs (Kim & Conrad, 2006; Perna et al., 2009; SEF, 2005; Wenglinsky, 1996). In fact, HBCUs have been shown to increase the educational aspirations of their students in most academic disciplines (Kim & Conrad, 2006; Pascarella, Wolniak, Pierson, & Flowers, 2004; Wenglinsky, 1997), resulting in Black colleges producing the majority of Black students who pursue doctoral degrees (SEF, 2005).