Literature Resources for Broadening Access to Science & Math

Sara Lopez (left) & Lisa Short (right)
This collection was initially developed by 2005 Science Scholars Lisa Short and Sara Lopez (Carleton, '09) in the summer of 2006, in collaboration with Mary Savina (Geology) and Trish Ferrett (Chemistry, CISMI). The project was based at Carleton's Science Education Resource Center (SERC). Sara's and Lisa's contribution to surveying the literature and existing programs elsewhere to develop these resources (and many of the abstracts below) is greatly appreciated.

Many of these resources were taken from the extended reading list for the Symposium on Diversity in the Sciences held at Harvard University in November 2005 (attended by several Carleton faculty and staff).

Jump down to: Stereotype Threat | Problem Solving | Effective Work in Diverse Groups and Teams | Legal Isses | What Works for Underrepresented Students at Other Institutions | Women in Science | Degree Progress for Underrepresented Groups in STEM Fields | The National Agenda | Articles in the News | Books

Stereotype Threat

Stereotype Threat: "The threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype." Research shows that when students felt they were being judged by stereotypes, they performed less well; this was found to be more true of higher-achieving students (from 1999 article below by Claude Steele).

G.L. Cohen, J. Garcia, N. Apfel and A. Master (2006). "Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention" (Acrobat (PDF) 230kB Sep7 06), Science 313, p. 1307-1310. Listen to Sept. 1, 2006 Science Podcast

Michael Johns, Micheal, Schmader, Toni and Martens, Andy (2005). "Knowing is Half the Battle. Teaching Stereotype Threat as a Means of Improving Women's Math Performance", Psychological Science 16, p. 175-179.

Cohen, Geoffrey L. and Steele, Claude M. (2002). "A Barrier of Mistrust: How Negative Stereotypes Affect Cross-Race Mentoring". In Improving Academic Achievement, Chapter 15, Elsevier Science (USA).

Steele, Claude M. (1999). Thin Ice. "Stereotype Threat" and Black College Students, Atlantic Monthly 284 (2).

Steele, Claude (1997). "A Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance" American Psychologist 52, 613-629.

Effective Work in Diverse Groups & Teams

Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, Penn State University, Puzzled About Teams, by Gill, Heermans, and Herath.

Larry K. Michaelsen, Arletta Bauman Knight, and L. Dee Fink, editors (2004). Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Stylus Publishing .

Problem Solving

Asera, Rose, "Pipeline or Pipedream: Another Way to Think about Basic Skills", Carnegie Conversations, posted Aug. 14, 2006.

On teaching problem solving:

Legal Issues

Mervis, Jeffrey, "U.S. Plans Suit to Stop Minority-Only Programs" Science 310 (November 25, 2005).

What Works for Under-Represented Students at Other Institutions

Biology Scholars, UC Berkeley
Cornell University Working Group (2006). Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in College Completion and Achievement: A Teagle Working Group on What Works and Why.

Gandara, Patricia, and Maxwell-Jolly, Julie "Priming the Pump: Strategies for Increasing the Achievement of Underrepresented Minority Undergraduates". The College Board (December 1999). The most recent review article on this topic.

Summers, Michael F. & Hrabowski III, Freeman A. "Preparing Minority Scientists and Engineers" Science 311 (March 31, 2006). On the nationally recognized Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Also see the 2004 Evaluation report on this program. This article talks about the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, founded in 1989, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The program is devoted to eradicating the belief that underrepresented students, particularly blacks, are not interested on pursuing careers in the sciences. Up to 2006, the program has supported 768 students, 260 of which are currently undergraduates. According to the data presented, students who entered the program are twice as likely to earn a science or engineering bachelor's degree, and 5.3 times more likely to enroll in post-college graduate study. The program model is comprised of four objectives: academic and social integration, knowledge and skill development, support and motivation, and monitoring and advising. Key program elements include: 1) recruiting a substantial pool of high-achieving minority students with interest in science and engineering, 2) merit based scholarships, 3) an orientation program for incoming freshman, 4) recruiting research-active faculty to work with the students, and 5) involving students in research as early as possible. The program encourages students to excel, earn top grades, and prepare for graduate school. They note that encouraging high academic performance in the first two years is critical. (Sara Lopez)

Matsui, John, Liu, Roger, and Kane, Caroline M. "[link Cell Biology Education" Cell Biology Education 2 pp. 117-121 (2003). On the nationally recognized Biology Scholars Program.

Fullilove, Robert E., and Philip Uri Treisman (1990). "Mathematics Achievement Among African American Undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley: An Evaluation of the Mathematics Workshop Program". Journal of Negro Education 59, 463-478.

Women in Science

Barres, Ben A. "Does Gender matter?" Nature 442, 133-136 (13 July 2006). Published online 12 July 2006. (Carleton online access through the Bridge at Gould Library).

Lederman, Doug (2006). The Real Barriers for Women in Science,, Sept. 19, 2006. (original report immediately below)

National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine (2006). Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering (2006). Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering & the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

Degree Progress for Underrepresented Groups in STEM Fields

"Good News! A Record Number of Doctoral Degrees Awarded to African Americans" The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (2005).

"Black Student Graduate Rates Remain Low, But Modest Progress Begins to Show" (Acrobat (PDF) 2.9MB Aug3 06), Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Winter 2005/2006.

The National Agenda

Alberts, Bruce, "A Wakeup Call for Science Faculty" Cell 123, December 2 (2005). Bruce Alberts, a biochemist, is the past President of the National Academy of Science; known as the"education president".

Articles in the News

The Weekly Bulletin from the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Daily news from

"So that's why they're leaving", (July 26, 2006).

"If there's a will", (May 12, 2006).


Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N.M. (1997). Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Tinto, V. (1987, 1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.