- There is a need for more comparative and longitudinal studies on effective content and pedagogy, particularly those that promote earlier interest in STEM. Based on their current social prominence, two potential candidates for such studies include (a) STEM concepts present in communication technologies and social media (e.g., iPods, video games, and social media such as Facebook), and (b) the role and effectiveness of same-sex schools.
For high school:
- There are a number of questions that could focus potential research on this population, such as: What characterizes an educational culture of success? What pathways toward high school academic success are enabled or precluded by a child’s elementary and middle school experiences, behaviors, and assessments? What are empowering, culturally relevant pedagogies that foster future STEM achievement? In what learning spaces (in and out of school) are they practiced?
- There is a lack of understanding by researchers of the interactions of racial identity and social capital theories.5 Researchers must better understand how social and cultural capital develop and manifest in the academic and life trajectories of males of color and the multiple dimensions of identity among males of color at this level.
Undergraduate (two- and four-year) education:
- Research on students at this level is necessarily coupled with an understanding of precollege experiences that do or do not adequately prepare African American males for pursuing STEM study and careers. Such an understanding requires assessment of the nature and effectiveness of guidance in high school as well as the effectiveness of various school models (e.g., magnet schools, charter schools, and learning communities in conventional schools).
- There should be holistic approaches to understanding undergraduate recruitment, matriculation, retention, and graduation of African American males. In addition, there may need to be analysis of individual STEM disciplines in order to understand movement of African American males across these disciplines at the undergraduate level as well as their exit from STEM disciplines to non-STEM disciplines.
For graduate students/professionals in STEM:
- The future engagement of African American males in STEM fields is highly dependent on the presence of a racially diverse professoriate. Thus appropriate topics for research might include (a) the recruitment and retention of minority male faculty and (b) support structures to ease the transitions of African American males through these critical education and training milestones in STEM careers.
5 Social capital theory is broadly defined as encompassing the “norms and networks facilitating collective action for mutual benefit.” Source: Michael Woolcock, “Social Capital and Economic Development: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis and Policy Framework,” Theory and Society, Vol. 27, 151-208, 1998.