Discipline: Science & Mathematics Education
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
- University of the Virgin Islands
Co-Author(s): R. Stolz, T. Turner, S. Romano, A. Stanford, A. Bauman, N. Monrose, N. Jones, L. Cummings, A. Sanchez, R. Berkeley, and A. Tucker Blackmon
The UVI Growth Model for STEM Retention has resulted in increased rates of retention, persistence, and graduation as well as increased numbers of STEM majors. The model has been developed through funding from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black College and Universities Undergraduate Programs (NSF HBCU-UP) since 1999, and has been fueled by increased capacity from NSF VI-EPSCoR and other NSF and NIH grant projects. Over the course of the NSF HBCU-UP funding, UVI has realized a 48% increase in STEM majors. The College of Science and Mathematics improved retention rates, with the most recent cohort realizing a 91% retention rate, versus UVI’s 75% overall rate (data from UVI’s Office of Institutional Research and Planning). The persistence rate has also increased for STEM majors, and is currently at approximately 65%, versus UVI’s overall 58%. Graduation rates for STEM majors have increased by six percent, and currently hover near 30%, versus UVI’s overall six year graduation rates of 22 to 26% (in keeping with UVI’s chosen institutional peers, where graduation rates range from 19% to 39%). The success of the UVI Growth Model is in part due to adaptation and implementation of research based approaches, many of which had been proven to positively impact student success in other settings. These approaches have included developing a summer program for entering freshmen, as well as formal course-related, and informal non-course related activities focused on both student academic and social experiences. Our comprehensive plan has incorporated feedback, with all activities evaluated, revised, and re-visited. In some instances, activities were created at UVI, but always had as a basis research on student achievement. Our current emphasis in the model has been on student professional development, and enhancement of the undergraduate STEM environment to impact student personal growth and success in STEM. We are now integrating a growth mindset into our Freshman Development Seminar, our Sophomore Boost program, and our faculty development activities. Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford University, has demonstrated that persons with a “growth” mindset who believe that intelligence is malleable are more successful than those with a “fixed” mindset who believe that intelligence is static. We are using the approach Dr. Dweck’s team has developed for teaching about growth mindset to middle school students to develop materials appropriate for university students. By teaching students how one can “grow” intelligence through work and using evaluation instruments to measure where one is on the mindset spectrum, we expect to continue to increase student success in STEM. Our goal with our current ACE implementation project is to continue to further validate the UVI Growth model so that it can be adopted by other institutions.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HBCU-UP ACE Implementation Project Grant No. 1623126
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,