Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
Hendricus Van Antwerpen - Virginia Union University
Co-Author(s): Falcon Rankins, PRISSEM Academic Services, LLC, Richmond, Virginia
The present study aimed to determine the effect of 1) faculty development, 2) a summer enrichment program, and 3) the establishment of a STEM Career Coaching Team, on the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of undergraduate STEM majors at Virginia Union University (VUU). Mean enrollment of STEM majors during the 2011-2018 project period was 26.1% higher than the mean enrollment of students during the 2009-2011 baseline period. Recruitment of Biology majors, i.e., the mean number of first-time first year students entering the Biology major, increased by 29.8%, but these gains were offset by declines in the recruitment of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer Information Systems (CIS) majors. Similarly, the first-year retention rate of Biology majors during the project period was on average 21.5% higher than during the baseline period, but again this gain was offset by decreases in the Chemistry, Mathematics, and CIS. Only the Biology major saw a substantial increase (33.5%) in the four-year graduation rate. STEM students who visited a Career Coach at least once during academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 were more likely to have higher cumulative GPAs after their first year and more likely to graduate in four years, relative to peers. The CAPS in STEM project positively influenced the recent establishment of separately funded faculty research projects, as well as the establishment of a new Physics major, a new Physics/Engineering dual degree program, and a new Cybersecurity major at VUU. The impact of these research projects and new majors on STEM recruitment, retention, and graduation rates remains to be established.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This project was supported by an NSF HBCU-UP Implementation Grant
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,
NSF Affiliation: HBCU-UP