Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Lydia Davis - Tennessee State University
To maximize the persistence of STEM students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) it is important to sustain student interest in the STEM fields upon recruitment and after enrollment in STEM degree programs. Gathering data regarding current student experiences in STEM majors at HBCUs will support the identification, prevention, and reduction of barriers these students face in completing their STEM degrees. Researchers nationwide completed a descriptive research study targeted at recognizing and categorizing ways to broaden participation and guarantee success for students completing STEM degrees at HBCUs. Methods: Data was collected using survey instruments from sixty-three student participants (N = 63) at HBCUs in STEM majors. The survey instruments included several items prompting students to rate each item using a Likert scale to reflect on their STEM experience in their specific degree major. An example of one survey item is as follows: 1) Students lose confidence due to low grades in early STEM courses. Results: Results indicate that most student participants identify language barriers with foreign faculty or teaching assistants to be an obstacle to degree completion and student achievement in STEM majors at their institution, as this survey item was mostly rated with a 4 or a 5 for “Agree” or “Strongly Agree.” Students also reported that they are losing interest in STEM majors with ratings of this survey item. These findings demonstrate support is needed to assist students in overcoming language barriers and keeping interest in the STEM field to ultimately complete their degree. The present study findings will support the development of strategies and supportive programming focused on broadening participation within STEM disciplines, enhancing the persistence of STEM students, and improving overall student experiences in the STEM fields at a HBCUs.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): HBCU-UP, National Science Foundation.
Faculty Advisor: Lesia Crumpton-Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I am a research assistant who aided Lesia Crumpton-Young in collecting data and analyzing the results.