2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 11-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


MCDARIS, John R., Science Education Research Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057 and MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, jmcdaris@carleton.edu

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) play an important role in increasing the diversity of geoscience graduates where there are appropriate degree programs or pathways to programs. Relatively little data was available about the degree programs with significant geoscience content available at MSIs when InTeGrate began its work to increase the persistence of underrepresented minority students in STEM and geoscience. So, to establish a baseline InTeGrate staff began investigating available information on institutional offerings.

A summer 2013 survey of websites Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges (TCs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) confirmed that, while stand-alone geoscience departments are present, there are a larger number of degree programs that require geoscience-related knowledge offered in interdisciplinary departments (e.g. Natural Sciences and Math) or cognate science departments (Physics, Engineering, etc.). Approximately one-third of HSIs and TCs and one-fifth of HBCUs offer at least one degree that includes elements of geoscience. This constitutes more degree programs than expected based on the relative dearth of specifically “geoscience” departments.

In order to characterize the practices at these institutions supporting diverse students and to compare/contrast with the efforts at Primarily White Institutions (PWIs), a series of interviews were conducted and a larger group of educators was asked to profile their degree programs. An analysis of these data shows several common themes (e.g. proactive marketing, community building, research experiences) that align well with the existing literature on what works to support student success. But there are also indications of different approaches and emphases between MSIs and PWIs as well as between different kinds of MSIs. Highlighting the different strategies in use can point both MSIs and PWIs to possible alternate solutions to the challenges their students face.

InTeGrate's suite of pages on recruiting, supporting, and preparing minority students in STEM disciplines can be found at serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/diversity/index.html