Charting the Course: The Role of Minority Serving Institutions in Facilitating the Success of Underrepresented Racial Minority Students in STEM
There has been much discussion in various media outlets and public forums about the critical need to increase academic preparedness among underrepresented racial minorities (URMs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Gasman, 2010; Harmon, 2012; Harper & Newman, 2010; Palmer, Maramba, & Dancy, 2011; Perna et al., 2009). Indeed, given that the U.S. Census Bureau (2008) predicts that there is expected to be rapid growth in the number of URMs over the next few decades (e.g., Blacks, Latino/as, Asian Americans, and Native Americans), researchers, policymakers, and educators have emphasized the importance of growing and nurturing the academic talent and potential of this population so they can eff ectively engage STEM education (Cole & Espinoza, 2008; Harper & Newman, 2010; Palmer, Davis, & Thompson, 2010; Palmer, Maramba, & Holmes, 2011; Perna et al., 2009). In fact, scholars have consistently argued that if America fails to increase academic success among URMs in STEM there will be negative implications for the country’s economic growth and competitiveness in the global arena (Perna et al., 2009). Specifi cally, Museus, Palmer, Davis, and Maramba (2011) indicated:
Several high profi le organizations have warned that the nation’s standing in the global economy is declining and the preparation of graduates who can contribute to its scientifi c and technological capacity is critical to preventing further decline and maintaining the nation’s competitiveness in the international marketplace.… Given … that minorities will make up an increasingly larger proportion of the STEM talent pool, it is essential for educators to maximize the success of these individuals if they are
to use the entire talent pool of potential STEM college students, college graduates, and professionals who can help maintain America’s edge in the global marketplace.