Just the Stats: How to Increase Minority Presence in STEM Fields at Your Institution

A few weeks ago, I started to look at the programs that work to boost minority participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, specifically Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. The Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) is another successful program that focuses on helping STEM students by providing long-term institutional funding to Hispanic-serving institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, and tribal colleges and universities. The National Science Foundation provides funding for both programs.

Each MIE institution focuses on student support systems, undergraduate research opportunities, faculty development through technology and curriculum, outreach recruitment programs for K-12 students, STEM educational infrastructure, internal and external institutional assessment and evaluation, and partnerships and collaborations with business for student internship programs.

Currently there are several institutional partners actively involved: Bowie State University in Maryland; Spelman College in Atlanta; Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico; The University of Texas at El Paso; Xavier University of Louisiana; Oglala Lakota College and Sisseton Wahpeton College in South Dakota; and Sitting Bull College in North Dakota.

In 2003-2004 there were roughly 34,810 undergraduate students enrolled in the MIE institutions, with 20 percent (6,950) in STEM fields. More than 40 percent of the 6,950 students enrolled in STEM are Hispanic, and 37 percent are Black. 

Enrollment Trends

The growth of MIE enrollments has significantly increased compared to national trends.  Overall, national STEM enrollment has increased by 9 percent between 1993-1994 and 2004-2005,according to National Science Foundation, while MIE student enrollment in STEM majors has increased overall by 27 percent. Native American presence has increased from 28 to 112 students (for a 647 percent increase), followed by the Hispanic enrollment, which increased from 2,170 to 3,173 (for a 46 percent increase).
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Graduation Trends

Overall growth in MIE STEM graduation rates between 1994-1995 to 2003-2004 has increased by 47 percent, compared to 19 percent overall STEM graduation rates nationwide. During the same years, the number of Blacks earning bachelor’s degrees from MIE schools nearly doubled, followed by a 34 percent growth in STEM degrees awarded to Hispanics.

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Highlights at specific schools include the 195 percent increase in overall graduation rates of STEM students experienced by Bowie State University from between 1993-1994 and 2003-2004, a 195 percent increase. During the same years, The University of Texas El Paso saw a 41 percent increase in total STEM degrees conferred.

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BOWIE,

Oglala Lakota College

Sitting Bull College in North Dakota

Sisseton Wahpeton College

Spelman College in Georgia,

Universidad Metropolitana

The University of Texas at El Paso

Xavier University of Louisiana 

Retention Rates Higher In MIE Programs

In 1993-1994 when the MIE program was first introduced to five schools, 70 percent of students returned after the first year, followed by 54 percent after their second year, and 46 percent after their third year in college. In 2000-2001 with six schools, nearly 77 percent returned after the first year, 67 percent after the second year, and 55 percent after the third year of their undergraduate program. The average percent increase over the seven years was 10 percent.

– Olivia Majesky-Pullmann

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