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Research on STEM Graduation and Enrollment Rates to be Discussed at Clemson Summit

Clemson University’s Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education recently published an infographic highlighting graduation and enrollment rates among underrepresented males in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The infographic, “STEM Degree Enrollment and Graduation Rates among African American and Hispanic Males,” used data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The Charles H. Houston Center focuses on conducting research as well as analyzing programs and policies that aim to support educational equity.

Dr. Lamont A. FlowersDr. Lamont A. Flowers

“The [center’s] scholarly goals complement the work of other units in Clemson’s Inclusion and Equity division, “said Dr. Lamont A. Flowers, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at Clemson and executive director of the Charles H. Houston Center. The units support students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni in a way that advances all of the constituents in the Clemson University community while attempting to create replicable and transformative models to enhance P-12 educational environments as well as college and university campuses throughout the nation, he said.

According to the research, from 2008 to 2016, STEM enrollment for African American males decreased by 7%. In contrast, STEM enrollment for Hispanic males during the same time period increased by 38%.

The research also said that the number of Hispanic males graduating with a STEM degree increased by 56% from 2008 to 2016, compared with a 2% decrease for African American males, the research found.

In order to increase the rates for STEM degree enrollment and graduation, Flowers recommended that colleges and universities implement educational programs for high school students in order to prepare students for college success.

“Postsecondary institutions should also coordinate programs that improve retention rates among African American and Hispanic males pursuing STEM degrees,” he said. “Furthermore, colleges and universities must ensure that African American and Hispanic males participate in educational experiences that augment their career outcomes after college.”

This topic of research will be part of the conversation at Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit. The summit’s theme is “Building Bridges to Success for African-American and Hispanic Males.”  Some 2,000 high school and college students as well as education, business and community leaders will gather March 3-4 to discuss changing the opportunity gap for underrepresented male students.

Infographic 1 E1583273611611

Sessions will focus on STEM education issues that affect African American and Hispanic males as well as the overall importance of the STEM field. There will also be discussions on how to increase students’ knowledge surrounding STEM in general and as a possible career option.

Other topics of discussion will be career and professional development, entrepreneurship, masculinity and personal identity, retention rates, student achievement and community engagement.

The summit will provide opportunities for teachers, college faculty and administrators to work toward educational and employment outcomes for underrepresented students.

This year’s speakers include 80th Attorney General of the U.S., Alberto Gonzales; host of American Ninja Warrior and former NFL football player, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila; chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Robert E. Johnson; and executive director of the White House Initiative on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) Domestic Policy Council, Jonathan Holifield.

“[It is] designed to improve academic outcomes by providing counseling, mentoring and academic support services to enhance achievement in high school and facilitate college readiness skills,” said Flowers.

He said the center plans to do further research on the topic of STEM.

“Future studies on this topic will focus on identifying the prominent factors that lead to differences in enrollment and graduation rates among African American and Hispanic males pursuing STEM degrees,” said Flowers.

Sarah Wood can be reached at [email protected].

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