Why There Are Few Women & African Americans in STEM

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A recent study says while 84% of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) department chairs at the country’s leading research universities say the issue of recruiting and retaining women and minority STEM undergraduates is important to their institution’s chancellor/president, only 33% report their colleges have a comprehensive STEM diversity plan with recruitment and retention goals in place.

Conducted by Bayer Corp., the Bayer Facts of Science Education XV survey polled 413 STEM department chairs, who are largely male (87%) and Caucasian (88%) to shed light on the undergraduate environment in which today’s female and minority STEM students make their career decisions. Some 33% of these chairs say their underrepresented minority students, given similar academic preparation as majority students, are less likely to graduate with STEM degrees. The solution, according to those polled, needs to come from the top down: 69% say the issue needs to be addressed by the highest institutional leadership, including trustees and regents, presidents, provosts, deans, and department chairs.

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