After tracking down their mailing addresses (relatively easy in the Internet age), the university offered simplified readmission, a degree summary indicating courses required (along with priority enrollment in those courses), and support and counseling. The result: Within a few years, the university could point to 1,800 new alumni and alumnae (including 59 with graduate degrees) and a state impressed with the university’s responsiveness.


SOURCE: College Board. 2008a. Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future, pp. 17-18.

Sustaining Confidence and Self-Efficacy

Within the broader institutional processes of developing a welcoming climate for diversity, institutions, departments, and programs need to focus on how specifically to support underrepresented minority students as aspiring scientists, engineers, and technicians. Over the past several decades, programs have been developed to attract students to STEM majors and provide the necessary support that will enable the students to complete undergraduate STEM degrees and pursue advanced study. Many of these programs have been supported by major federal and private funding agencies, while others have been implemented and supported by individual institutions or departments. In addition to the programs themselves, there is a growing research base on which factors are important elements for broadening participation.5

Much of the research has focused on ways to address issues of student motivation and confidence, as the challenges are likely to incorporate psychosocial factors beyond simple questions of access and opportunity. For example, Hurtado et al. (2008) argue that for minority students to become and identify as scientists or engineers, they must negotiate psychological territory that is more complex than it is for majority students. Therefore, interventions that are likely to be successful at broadening the participation of minorities will need to be based upon an understanding of why students choose to pursue certain majors and careers.

Social learning theory explores how individuals acquire social values, recognizing that an individual’s personality is based upon unique experi-

5

Chubin, DePass, and Blockus, 2009; Olson and Fagen, 2007. See also http://understandinginterventions.org.



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