Initial Publication Date: September 22, 2016

Broaden Participation in STEM

The perspectives of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines are valuable in broadening the conversation and approaches to solve questions in STEM. In addition, many employers that need STEM expertise are expecting large shortfalls in qualified employees in the near future. A strong strategy for developing a robust workforce is to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students, first generation college students, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in courses and programs where they can learn the necessary skills and knowledge.

The suites of resources and exemplars showcased here demonstrate successful models in a variety of contexts. There are many components that can be involved (such as demonstrating the relevance to students' lives, using active pedagogies, or developing a sense of community among students in a program). The examples of how other educators and institutions have achieved success with some key practices are particularly valuable for those engaged in broadening participation in STEM.

Attract Students to Courses and Programs

There are many ways to increase the number and diversity of students interested in taking STEM courses and becoming STEM majors.

Support Students through to Graduation

Once students are part of the program, careful attention should be given to providing them with the kinds of support that will enable them to be successful.

Prepare Students for Career Success

Ultimately, degree attainment is only important if students are able to fulfill the career goals they have set for themselves.

What is This?

These pages are a synthesis of advice based on broadening participation work done by faculty members and administrators involved in many projects in collaboration with the Science Education Resource Center (SERC). The framework of attracting, supporting, and preparing students as well as the major guidance headings on each page come out of work sponsored by the InTeGrate STEP Center project. The other projects involved include: Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education in Two-year Colleges (SAGE2YC); Building Strong Departments; Supporting STEM Success in a Liberal Arts Context; On the Cutting Edge; Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education (IINSPIRE); Integrating Research and Education; Keyah Math Project; Pedagogy in Action; Direct Measurement Videos; Sustainability Improves Student Learning (SISL); Climate Education in an Age of Media; Parallel Computing in the Computer Science Curriculum; Curriculum for the Bioregion; and the National Institute for Faculty Equity (NIFE).

Other Resources