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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
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8
Recommendations and Implementation Actions

As described in previous chapters, a successful national effort to increase the participation and success of underrepresented minorities in STEM must be urgent, sustained, comprehensive, intensive, coordinated, and informed. It must also cut across all educational stages and stakeholder groups. With these principles in mind, the committee has developed six broad recommendations and a description of actions that should be taken by specific stakeholders. Following the six broad recommendations, the committee proposes two top priorities that should serve as the near-term focal point for national policies for broadening participation.

PREPARATION

Recommendation 1: Preschool Through Grade 3

Prepare America’s children for school through preschool and early education programs that develop reading readiness, provide early mathematics skills, and introduce concepts of creativity and discovery.

Federal Government
  • The federal government should fully fund Head Start and prekindergarten school-readiness programs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a one-time infusion of $1.1 billion to double the number of children served by Early Head Start over two years and an addi-

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

tional $1 billion to expand and improve Head Start. This level of funding should be sustained and expanded, working toward the goal of voluntary, high-quality preschool education, universally available to 3- and 4-year old children from qualifying families.

  • The federal government, in coordination with states and local school districts, should consider targeted resources to perpetuate gains obtained through Head Start and public pre-K programs once students are enrolled in elementary school; incentives for states to expand the capacity and improve the quality of public pre-K programs; and the increased integration of child care, Head Start, and state pre-K programs to reduce the disparities in early education and school readiness.

  • The federal Head Start program, in conjunction with the Department of Education and National Science Foundation, should provide dissemination and training on curricular tools for Head Start and public pre-K programs that facilitate the introduction of scientific skills, such as observing nature, formulating questions, and creativity.

State Governments
  • We echo the recent recommendation of the College Board (2008a) that “Governors and legislators, working with educators, community groups, and experts on Head Start and early childhood education, should develop funding formulas to help communities establish and create effective preschool programs and standards for their operation.”1

  • State systems should work with educators and experts to align early childhood programs with public school curriculum and quality standards, including those for mathematics and science, to ensure the successful matriculation of children during the early grades.

Local School Districts
  • Local school districts should offer guidance on how to align preschool curricula with learning expectations in kindergarten.2 Experts suggest aligning preschool curricula with expectations through 3rd grade.

  • Local school districts should target resources to perpetuate gains obtained through preschool programs once students are enrolled in elementary school by adopting promising practices and proven interventions.

1

College Board. 2008. Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future. New York, NY: The College Board.

2

College Board. 2008. Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future. New York, NY: The College Board.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
Recommendation 2: K-12 Mathematics and Science

Increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 science and mathematics education for underrepresented minorities.

Federal Government
  • The federal government should increase Title I funding, require equitable state and district budgeting practices for schools whose populations include high proportions of students from economically disadvantaged families, and require districts to publicly report per-student expenditures by funding source (state, local, and federal) and by school. As minority students are overrepresented among such families, this will help to narrow the academic achievement gaps overall.3

  • The federal government should reform the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act by improving its overall effectiveness, especially for schools with large minority populations. As part of this reform, the Act should support states, school districts, and schools that identify and mitigate gaps (between and within schools) in student performance in English language skills, mathematics, and science. The reform of NCLB should retain the requirement that schools be held responsible for the achievement of the various subgroups of students they serve by continuing to report test scores disaggregated by race/ethnicity.

  • The federal government should expand its programs that impact K-12 science and mathematics education (e.g., Mathematics and Science Partnerships programs at the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education) in order to enhance schools’ capacity to provide challenging curricula for all students; contribute to a greater understanding of how students effectively learn mathematics and science and how teacher preparation and professional development can be improved; engage and support scientists, mathematicians, and engineers at local universities and local industries in working with K-12 educators and students; and promote institutional and organizational change in education systems—from kindergarten through graduate school—to sustain partnerships’ promising practices and policies.

  • The federal government should seek to improve early intervention programs such as the TRIO programs, especially the Upward Bound MathScience program, and augment budgets as warranted.

3

D. Hall and N. Ushomirsky. 2010. Close the Hidden Funding Gaps in Our Schools. Washington, DC: The Education Trust.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
State Governments
  • States should adopt evidence-based curriculum standards across subject areas, including science and mathematics, to ensure college and career readiness for all students. For example, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers have drafted Common Core Standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12 to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.4 They are aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills, informed by international benchmarks, and evidence-based.

  • As a corollary, states should develop rigorous testing programs that identify performance gaps—including those for science and mathematics—and provide resources, strategies, and programs to address them.

  • States should provide equitable resources and quality teachers to schools with high minority populations.

  • States should support the establishment of magnet high schools for science and mathematics in each major jurisdiction within a state and insist that these schools make inclusivity a requirement.

Local School Districts
  • School districts should develop programs that identify and encourage minority students to more fully develop their knowledge base and potential in mathematics and science. These programs should include efforts to encourage minority students to enroll in and pass Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or similar advanced courses and examinations.

  • Local school districts should develop and provide quality mathematics and science curricula that include active, hands-on, project-based learning that improve understanding of science and scientific processes. These may be augmented through informal education programs such as those at science centers and museums.

  • Schools and teachers should capitalize on the findings of research on students who are low achievers, have difficulties in mathematics, or have learning disabilities related to mathematics in order to improve instruction for them. This research tells us that the effective practice includes:5

    • Explicit methods of instruction on a regular basis,

    • Clear problem-solving models,

4

Common Core Standards Initiative, http://www.corestandards.org.

5

National Mathematics Advisory Panel: Foundations for Success: Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (from presentation to committee by Irma Arispe, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, June 11, 2008).

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
  • Carefully orchestrated examples/sequences of examples,

  • Concrete objects to understand abstract representations and notation, and

  • Participatory thinking aloud by students and teachers.

  • Local school districts should encourage teachers and administrators to hold genuinely high expectations for minority students and follow through on activities and programs that help students meet those expectations.

Nonprofits
  • Nonprofits should continue to pioneer new program approaches that employ innovative strategies or target particular niches. Nonprofit groups, with support of federal agencies or philanthropic organizations, have developed promising programs that may yield significant impacts. These kinds of programs should be fostered so that we can continue to improve our means for reaching underrepresented minority students and engaging them in mathematics and science. The Algebra Project provides an example of a program established to target minority students, encourage them to demand access to quality mathematics instruction and use this as a springboard for college and beyond. Similarly, the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education offers rigorous educational and leadership development programs for 5th graders and beyond to improve students’ future performance in STEM programs.

Recommendation 3: K-12 Teacher Preparation and Retention

Improve K-12 mathematics and science education for underrepresented minorities overall by improving the preparedness of those who teach them those subjects.

Federal Government
  • The federal government should provide incentives for the annual recruitment, retention, and professional development of science and mathematics teachers who teach minority students. Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended that the federal government “annually recruit 10,000 science and mathematics teachers by awarding 4-year scholarships.” As minority students comprise 36.6 percent of K-12 students in the United States (as of 2006), 3,660 of these new science and mathematics teachers should, upon graduation, be allocated to schools with a predominantly minority enrollment. Minority math and science teachers should be declared an area of national need.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
  • The federal government should strengthen the capacity of teacher education programs at minority-serving institutions to prepare and produce quality math and science teachers who intend to teach underrepresented minority students.

  • Drawing on program evaluations and policy development, the federal government should improve the quality of its suite of teacher preparation programs across federal agencies. These programs, whether targeted toward minorities or not, should include a special focus on increasing the number, quality, and diversity of mathematics and science teachers, especially in underserved areas.

State Governments
  • States should, along with state colleges and universities, coordinate STEM teacher training programs that recruit, prepare, and place qualified teachers in high-needs schools proportionately to all other schools. An emphasis should be placed on reducing the use of out-of-field science and mathematics teachers in high-minority schools.

  • States should provide incentives for qualified teachers to work in schools and districts with high-minority and low-income enrollments and seek to reduce turnover among these teachers.

Higher Education Institutions
  • Higher education institutions should increase the recruitment, preparation, professional development, and retention of well-qualified elementary and secondary teachers in mathematics and the sciences who are prepared to teach diverse students. This preparation should include the requirement that the core teacher education curriculum provide courses in multicultural approaches to pedagogy.

POSTSECONDARY SUCCESS

Recommendation 4: Access and Motivation

Improve access to all postsecondary education and technical training and increase underrepresented minority student awareness of and motivation for STEM education and careers through improved information, counseling, and outreach.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
Federal Government
  • The federal government should ensure that outreach programs linking postsecondary institutions and K-12 schools and systems, such as the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 (GK-12), Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences, and the Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) programs at the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, include a strong emphasis within them of improving K-12 mathematics and science education and awareness for underrepresented minority students. This may entail greater coordination across outreach programs in the same institution or geographic region.

  • The U.S. Department of Education must improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the TRIO Upward Bound program, which has the potential for a strong positive impact on underrepresented minority enrollment in college and for furthering minorities’ aspirations to major in STEM.

States and School Districts
  • As a standard, states must require middle and high schools to have at least one counselor for every 250 students and charge these counselors with providing students with a “robust college counseling program.”6 Within this counseling program, counselors should follow the lead of mathematics and science teachers to encourage interested and motivated students to pursue STEM education and careers and provide them with information about the course prerequisites for success in STEM education in college.

  • States and school districts should introduce students to STEM careers, starting in preschool, through awareness activities and informal education programs that would include speakers (role models), activities, field trips, participation in science or engineering programs, and links to summer programs.7 These may be accomplished in partnership with employers and nonprofit organizations. These must include an emphasis on and programs targeted to increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities.

Employers
  • Businesses, government agencies, and higher education institutions should work to plant the seeds of interest in STEM by allowing staff to visit elementary schools where they can discuss science and engineering and

6

College Board, Coming to Our Senses.

7

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. 2008. Confronting the “New” American Dilemma, Executive Summary, p. 8.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

talk with students about and encourage them to consider STEM careers.8 To the extent possible, when such staff are of the same racial/ethnic group as the students they visit, they can provide role models, particularly for underrepresented minority students, that they may not encounter often in their communities.

  • Employers also should offer on-site internships to underrepresented minority students and teachers and provide access to resources such as the latest equipment and software.9

Higher Education Institutions
  • Higher education institutions should engage in targeted outreach and recruitment activities that could constitute a “feeder system” to help cultivate underrepresented minority students who may aspire to enroll in these institutions.10

  • Higher education institutions should develop summer programs in mathematics, science, and engineering that include or target underrepresented minority high school students. These programs should provide experiences that stimulate interest in these fields through study and hands-on research or projects and that develop a cadre of students who support each other in their interests.

Recommendation 5: Affordability

Develop America’s advanced STEM workforce by providing adequate financial support to underrepresented minority students in undergraduate and graduate STEM education.

Federal Government
  • In addition to supporting underrepresented minorities through need-based college financial aid programs (e.g., Pell Grants), the federal government should provide financial support to underrepresented minorities for participation in undergraduate STEM programs across institution types: community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and majority-serving institutions. Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended that

8

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. 2008. Confronting the “New” American Dilemma, Executive Summary, p. 8.

9

NACME. 2008. Confronting the “New” American Dilemma, Executive Summary, p. 8.

10

Daryl E. Chubin and Wanda E. Ward. 2009. Building on the BEST Principles and Evidence: A Framework for Broadening Participation, in Mary K. Boyd and Jodi L. Wesemann, eds., Broadening Participation in Undergraduate Research: Fostering Excellence and Enhancing the Impact, Washington, DC: Council of Undergraduate Research, pp. 21-30.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

the federal government “increase the number and proportion of U.S. citizens who earn bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences, the life sciences, engineering, and mathematics by providing 25,000 new 4-year competitive undergraduate scholarships each year to U.S. citizens attending U.S. institutions.” Federal efforts to implement this recommendation should include an emphasis also on increasing participation of underrepresented minority students. We recommend that the federal government make a strong effort to encourage underrepresented minorities to apply for and participate in this program as, at a minimum, at least 40 percent of these scholarships will need to be attained by underrepresented minority students for the nation to make any progress toward increased underrepresented minority retention and completion in undergraduate STEM programs.

  • Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended that the federal government “Increase the number of U.S. citizens pursuing graduate study in ‘areas of national need’ by funding 5,000 new graduate fellowships each year.” Again, federal efforts to implement this recommendation should include an emphasis on also increasing participation of underrepresented minority students in all types of institutions of higher education, particularly research universities, where underrepresented minorities must have equitable representation in the student body and faculty if they are to fully contribute to our nation’s research and take part in national STEM leadership. The ideal package—particularly at the graduate school level—would allow the student to focus on studies and research full-time, without increasing debt burden or working in a non-STEM related job off-campus that would be a distraction.

  • The federal government—along with other stakeholders—should increase funding for undergraduate and graduate STEM programs focused on increasing the participation and success of underrepresented minority students through engaged mentoring, enriching research experiences, and opportunities to publish, present, and network. To the extent that students can participate in conferences, present papers, engage in summer research, or take advantage of similar activities, the deeper their commitment to their program, their discipline, and their profession. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will likely require additional financial support for these activities as well. Sources of this support may include institutional funds or funding from federal or philanthropic programs.

  • The federal government should increase funding for the operating expenses of TCUs and increase the level authorized under the Tribally Controlled College or University Assistance Act of 1978.

  • The federal government should assess the impact of the American Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National SMART Grant programs to ensure they are best meeting the needs of students with potential for success in STEM. Early reports indicated that far fewer students than originally

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

anticipated were taking advantage of the program. While use has increased, the government should review its program outreach and selection processes as well as eligibility criteria.

State Governments
  • State governments must assist with the education of underrepresented minority students in STEM. They may do so by more fully supporting public higher education generally in their jurisdictions. State appropriations as a percentage of the operating budgets of public institutions has been declining since the early 1970s, about the same time that civil rights efforts first helped increase diversity on our nation’s public campuses in a substantial way.11 State appropriation levels have always shifted with general economic circumstances. However, since the mid-1990s, the increases in appropriations have failed to compensate, in real terms, for the periodic downturns.

Philanthropy
  • With relative freedom to explore new program approaches, foundations should develop and/or fund programs that employ innovative strategies or target particular niches in undergraduate and graduate STEM education for underrepresented minorities. For example, the Gates Millennium Scholars program, funded by a $1 billion grant to UNCF from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999, seeks to promote academic excellence and provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students, with significant financial need in education, engineering, library science mathematics, public health, and the sciences to reach their highest potential by reducing financial barriers and providing seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs. Similarly, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has developed the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program to increase the number of minority doctorates by selecting HHMI grantee students to conduct research in an HHMI lab, receive continued mentoring and networking, and attend summer meetings. They are eligible for predoctoral fellowships, and to date one-third of participants have attained the PhD. The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program provides a third example of philanthropic support to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. To facilitate these goals

11

Christopher Newfield. 2008. Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

directly, the program awards fellowships at the predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral levels. Finally, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides scholarships for minority students who are beginning their doctoral work in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering and connects students to faculty and departments with demonstrated success in sending their students to doctoral programs. A special program enables American Indian master’s and doctoral mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering students to apply for scholarships to attend one of five universities. The Foundation also helps position minority PhD’s for faculty positions at research universities.

Higher Education Institutions
  • Higher education institutions have a responsibility, particularly when they charge increasingly high tuition and fees, to provide need-based financial assistance to students and families who have a demonstrated need for such assistance. This is critical for underrepresented minorities in STEM who are from low- and moderate-income families. Harvard University and Brown University have been proactive in this regard. Harvard’s financial aid initiative for low- and middle-income families reduces the contributions of families with incomes between $60,000 and $80,000; those with incomes of less than $60,000 are not expected to contribute to the cost of their children’s attending Harvard. Consequently, the class of 2010 was the most diverse in Harvard’s history. Brown University’s financial aid initiative has similar family income thresholds, and students are able to use outside scholarships to eliminate all of the student-effort components in their financial aid awards.

  • Doctoral institutions must do a much better job of including more underrepresented minorities in STEM as research assistants. Fellowships are the most prevalent form of support for underrepresented minorities. Such assistantships help bridge the gap between what they can afford to pay and the cost of attendance when other sources of support are not available or do not cover the full cost of attendance. The need for loans or outside work is negatively correlated with enrollment and completion. Furthermore, work as an RA provides skills and experience that improve educational outcomes and make graduates more competitive in the job market.

Recommendation 6: Academic and Social Support

Take coordinated action to transform the nation’s higher education institutions to increase inclusion of and college completion and success in STEM education for underrepresented minorities.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
Federal Government
  • The federal government should increase funding for infrastructure, research, curriculum development, and professional training at minority serving institutions through such programs as HBCU-UP, TCU-UP, RISE, MARC/MBRS, and CREST. These grants should be larger in size so they can have a substantial impact on the recipient campuses; they should be competitively awarded to institutions that can most effectively use them to strengthen the quality of their STEM education and, therefore, the preparation of underrepresented minority students in STEM for both the workforce and competitive graduate programs; moreover, they should require rigorous program evaluation.

  • Federal agencies, particularly those with large science and engineering research portfolios, should hold institutions that receive federal research funding accountable for broadening participation in STEM—particularly at the doctoral level. The National Science Foundation (NSF) asks potential grantees to explain both the intellectual merit of the proposed research as well as its broader impact. Under this evaluation criterion, the NSF should continue to emphasize the importance of broadening participation of underrepresented minorities as one critical way that research projects can achieve important broader impact goals. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not ask grantees for a discussion of how a proposed project will address broader impact. We recommend that the NIH reconsider the decision not to include such a criterion. All agencies should consider broader impact criteria, particularly the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • The federal government should create and fund a program—based on the goals and structures of the NSF ADVANCE program—to increase the representation and advancement of underrepresented minorities in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. As described on the NSF Web site,

    ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators.

    A similar program focused on underrepresented minorities could also play “an integral part of the NSF’s multifaceted strategy to broaden participation

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

in the STEM workforce” and support the critical role of the Foundation in advancing the status of underrepresented minorities in academic science and engineering.

  • Federal agencies should continue to build cadres of mentors at higher education institutions nationwide. Those who have received the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring can serve as a national resource, and federal agencies should draw on them to build knowledge regarding the identification and nurturing of talent and to help cultivate other mentors. In addition, the NSF should require a mentoring plan in program solicitations for graduate students as it does for postdocs.

Higher Education Institutions
  • At the most general level, the institutional commitment to inclusiveness and the policies used to express that commitment play a critical contextual role for programs designed to increase underrepresented minority participation in undergraduate and graduate STEM. Therefore, a campus-wide commitment to inclusiveness provides the best environment for planting the seeds of diversity. This should be articulated by university leaders both in the university mission and in everyday affairs. Leadership is essential at all levels of academia—the faculty, department chairs, deans, provosts, chancellors and presidents, and even regents and trustees—for programs to work, that is, to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in a significant way. The visible and continuing commitment of these leaders to diversity and to minority participation provides the overall, critical tone that signals appropriate actions for others.

  • Institutions should further reinforce the commitment to diversity by rewarding faculty in the promotion and tenure process for developing student talent and coaching junior faculty, both in general and for underrepresented minorities. They can support this by also providing professional development opportunities for faculty in areas such as mentoring diverse students.

  • Higher education institutions should continue to remove systemic barriers to the participation of underrepresented minorities in college by developing, implementing, and enforcing undergraduate and graduate admissions and financial aid policies that reinforce diversity within the legal parameters of the Michigan decisions in order to ensure a significant and sufficient overall level of minority participation on campus.

  • Institutions should develop bridging programs to enable students to matriculate along the STEM education continuum. These programs include academic preparation, guidance from mentors on mastering the transition, the development of connections between programs, and financial support

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

as necessary. Key transition points at which bridging can help include the transition from community colleges to four-year institutions, from undergraduate to graduate programs, and from master’s to doctoral programs.

  • Undergraduate and graduate STEM education programs should incorporate social inclusion strategies that include peer-to-peer support, study groups, program activities fostering social integration, and tutoring and mentoring programs. These strategies should be implemented as complements to summer programs, enriching research experiences, bridging programs, and professional development activities.12

  • Higher education institutions should encourage genuinely high expectations on the part of faculty toward minority students and follow through on activities and programs that help students meet those expectations.

  • Higher education institutions, especially research universities, should replicate the practices of institutions with demonstrated success in producing large numbers of minorities with STEM undergraduate and graduate degrees. A successful program will draw on the lessons of best and worst practices in program development and implementation but will be tailored to its particular institutional and disciplinary context. The long-term success of programs is often dependent on diverse sources of funding, including institutional resources, to ensure continuity if any one piece of support is terminated.

  • Institutions should procure adequate facilities and equipment or partner as possible with industry, federal laboratories, and other institutions to facilitate student access to these other resources. The federal government can assist by providing institutions with funding for facilities and equipment or by supporting the development of networks among institutions that would provide access to them, among other things.

Professional Associations and Scientific Societies
  • Professional associations and scientific societies should make recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority scientists and engineers an organizational goal and implement programs designed to reach that goal. These organizations should “work with their membership, academic institutions, and funding agencies to monitor the impact of programs aimed at broadening participation in science and to develop and sustain effective, new

12

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute developed a symposia program in which invited participating institutions were asked to provide data on their minority programs. The data collected confirmed that underrepresented minorities were more likely to drop out of programs early, but that early intervention strategies made a difference: Such strategies include summer bridge, peer mentoring, peer leadership, coaching for social aspects, study groups, early research opportunities, and faculty mentoring.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

initiatives.” These organizations should “work together to communicate the importance of broadening participation in science to their members, the public and policy makers.”13

  • Professional associations and scientific societies should implement policies and programs designed to encourage mentoring. “Mentoring underrepresented minorities should be integral to any initiative or program designed to enhance diversity in the sciences. Organizations should emphasize the importance of mentoring and promote and facilitate mentoring of students and junior scientists by their senior colleagues.” Among more specific ideas, they should “reward faculty for time spent on mentoring, and encourage the provision of grants that offer protected time for mentoring activities.”14

Industry and Federal Laboratories
  • Industry and federal laboratories can broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering through structured incentives and programs to ensure sustained impact, such as internships, research assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. Industry and federal laboratories also should provide greater opportunities for minority faculty research collaboration and exchanges to increase their chances for tenure and promotion considerations.

  • Industry and federal laboratories should expand their partnerships with institutions that enroll large numbers of underrepresented minorities in STEM in order to increase the articulations between universities and industry/federal laboratories and expand the population of role models to interact with an increasingly diverse student population that will become the future workforce.

  • Industry and federal laboratories can be pivotal in enhancing the research capacity of minority-serving institutions, stimulating innovation in undergraduate and graduate education, and facilitating interdisciplinary training by providing much needed laboratory equipment.

TOP PRIORITY ACTIONS

Among the recommendations and implementation actions presented, we have identified two areas of highest priority for near-term action. We chose them because we believe they can have the most immediate impact

13

Consortium for Social Science Associations, Enhancing Diversity in Science: A Leadership Retreat on the Role of Professional associations and Scientific Societies: A Summary Report, February 28, 2008.

14

Ibid.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

on the critical transition points in the STEM education pathway for underrepresented minorities.

Priority 1: Undergraduate Retention and Completion

We propose, as a short-term focus for increasing the participation and success of underrepresented minorities in STEM, policies and programs that seek to increase undergraduate retention and completion through strong academic, social, and financial support. Financial support for underrepresented minorities that allows them to focus on and succeed in STEM will increase completion and better prepare them for the path ahead. This financial assistance should be provided through higher education institutions along with programs that simultaneously integrate academic, social, and professional development.

We have chosen this focus for several reasons:

  • A cadre of qualified underrepresented minorities already exists who attend college, declare an interest in majoring in the natural sciences or engineering, and either do not complete a degree or switch out of STEM before graduating. An intense effort to reduce this attrition and bolster baccalaureate completion represents the most straightforward way to retain these students.

  • An increase in the completion of undergraduate STEM degrees by this population may also have impacts up and down the pathway. The visibility of increased undergraduate success may stimulate interest in STEM on the part of younger cohorts. And the increase in overall numbers will increase the pool of underrepresented minorities who may consider graduate education and careers in STEM.

The goal is to increase participation at all types of higher education institutions, including research universities, where underrepresented minorities can contribute to research, become more prominent leaders, and serve as role models. This will fuel the pipeline of minority scientists and engineers in the STEM workforce.

Between 1998 and 2007, the number of underrepresented minorities earning bachelor’s degrees in social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering grew from 58,875 to 82,266, or by almost 40 percent. We have observed, however, that for the United States to draw proportionately from these groups for STEM fields while also increasing the proportion of 24-year-olds with a first degree in STEM from 6 percent to 10 percent, we would need to roughly triple the current numbers. If we set a short-term goal of at least doubling the numbers in the next decade as a milestone, this would mean that the rate of change over the next 10 years would need

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

to be 250 percent of the 1998-2007 rate (i.e., 100 percent growth rather than 40 percent growth) as we move from about 80,000 to 160,000 underrepresented minorities achieving bachelor’s degrees in STEM.

To achieve this doubling, the nation must invest in our nation’s students to achieve the higher level of return. Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended that the United States “increase the number and proportion of U.S. citizens who earn bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences, the life sciences, engineering, and mathematics by providing 25,000 new 4-year competitive undergraduate scholarships each year to U.S. citizens attending US institutions.” If one-eighth of the 80,000 additional underrepresented minority students we hope will attain a bachelor’s degree in STEM over the next decade require additional financial support to persist and complete, then 10,000—or 40 percent—of these 25,000 new four-year scholarships would need to be directed to underrepresented minorities. As shown in Table 8-1, if the cost of the program were $15,000 per student per year for an institutional program plus financial support to students, the component that would support 10,000 undergraduate underrepresented minority students in STEM would cost $150 million in fiscal year 2012 for the first cohort, increasing to $600 million in 2015 and thereafter, supporting four cohorts.

Priority 2: Teacher Preparation, College Preparatory Programs, and Transition to Graduate Study

We propose also an emphasis on teacher preparation, secondary school programs that support preparation for college STEM education, and programs that support the transition from undergraduate to graduate work.

Teacher preparation may be addressed in part by providing some portion of the undergraduate support recommended above to students who make a commitment to pursue a career in K-12 science or mathematics teaching, so these are not mutually exclusive recommendations. Secondary school programs that ensure students have access to advanced courses and proper academic advising will support the goal of undergraduate persistence and completion by ensuring that matriculating freshmen are fully prepared for college study.

At the other end of the undergraduate years, the transition of underrepresented minorities to graduate work at top research universities, where they can contribute to research and leadership in our nation’s science and engineering enterprise, is also critical. Equally important to the undergraduate support recommended above, we believe, is that underrepresented minorities should constitute a similar proportion of new graduate students who are supported through portable fellowships, research assistantships, or institutional grants, in order to increase their overall representation and to move greater numbers into top graduate programs. Research assistantships

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×

TABLE 8-1 Cost Estimate for New Underrepresented Minority Student Support

 

Fiscal year

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

URM Cumulative Awards

10,000

20,000

30,000

40,000

Cost for URM Cumulative Awards

$150M

$300M

$450M

$600M

Assumptions: 25,000 new students per year; 40% allocated to underrepresented minorities; 4-year scholarship; $15,000 per student for tuition/fees and institutional programs.

are particularly valuable in terms of ties to the lab group, access to research mentors and equipment, publication opportunities, and connections to professional networks.

This report resonates with the emphasis on STEM education and workforce development throughout the policy arena, including recent reports and initiatives of the Obama administration and National Science Board. It extends the previous knowledge about these issues by presenting guidance specific to the underrepresentation of minorities in STEM disciplines and careers. The report should be integral to the continued national conversations concerning the need for America to maintain a science and engineering workforce to meet its current and future needs. Finally, this is a transformative moment for the nation to seize this opportunity to not fail future generations.

Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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Suggested Citation:"8 Recommendations and Implementation Actions." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
×
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In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science and technology workforce. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation explores the role of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce and its value in keeping America innovative and competitive. According to the book, the U.S. labor market is projected to grow faster in science and engineering than in any other sector in the coming years, making minority participation in STEM education at all levels a national priority.

Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation analyzes the rate of change and the challenges the nation currently faces in developing a strong and diverse workforce. Although minorities are the fastest growing segment of the population, they are underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering. Historically, there has been a strong connection between increasing educational attainment in the United States and the growth in and global leadership of the economy. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation suggests that the federal government, industry, and post-secondary institutions work collaboratively with K-12 schools and school systems to increase minority access to and demand for post-secondary STEM education and technical training.

The book also identifies best practices and offers a comprehensive road map for increasing involvement of underrepresented minorities and improving the quality of their education. It offers recommendations that focus on academic and social support, institutional roles, teacher preparation, affordability and program development.

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