chapter  2
17 Pages

Minority Serving Institutions and STEM: Charting the Landscape

ByFrances K. Stage, Valerie C. Lundy-Wagner, Ginelle John

Calls to increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline have largely focused on improving postsecondary access to historically underrepresented students (Cook & Córdova, 2006; National Academy of Science [NAS], 2010). Stakeholders in higher education as well as those in other areas have pointed primarily toward student-level characteristics (e.g., precollege preparation, demography, attitudes, or behaviors) to identify disparities in STEM participation and success (Maple & Stage, 1991), but also to develop strategies for expanding access to STEM. This has coincided largely with the recognition that American colleges and universities serve an increasingly diverse population (Baum & Ma, 2007; Chang, Cerna, Han, & Saenz, 2008; Hurtado, Newman, Tran, & Chang, 2010). In fact, data show that between 1967 and 2007 the Asian and Latina/o undergraduate student populations increased from 2% to 7% and 4% to 11%, respectively (Snyder, Dillow, & Hoff man, 2009). Despite these and aggregate gains by historically underrepresented students in higher education, enrollment and completion in STEM specifi cally has not grown as fast. In fact, besides increases in STEM participation by Asian students, the enrollment and completion gains for other minorities in STEM have been less than impressive (National Science Foundation [NSF], Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2009).