STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Webinar from STEMConnector: Broadening Participation in STEM Higher Education: A Closer Look at Best Practices in Diversity

On June 16th,2015, STEMconnector's STEM Higher Education Council (SHEC) hosted a virtual town hall featuring "boundary-breaking" leaders who are engaging students from all backgrounds in the STEM economy. Focus will be on innovative higher education models that are engaging underrepresented minorities and women in STEM Fields.

Despite making up almost half of the U.S. Workforce, women are vastly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs and among STEM degrees.  Similarly, African-Americans, American Indians and Hispanics between 18-24 account for 34% of the population, but earn only 12% of undergraduate degrees in engineering. The fact that more than half of the nation's children are expected to be part of a minority race or group by 2020 and adults by 2040, engaging these populations in the STEM workforce is imperative to our nation's future.

Increasing participation among these underrepresented groups continues to be a major focus of STEM initiatives in Higher Education.  Many institutions are fundamentally rethinking how they engage and retain students from diverse backgrounds in STEM fields.  Innovations focus on strategic K-12 outreach, employment pathways, course redesign, mentoring, peer support, and technology implementation.