Attract Diverse Students to STEM

What is the current demographic situation? »

Use Culturally Appropriate Approaches

Demonstrate Cultural Relevance »
Engaging student interest is crucial to learning. Showing how geoscience and sustainability are relevant to students' lives and things they care about are key ways of doing that. Looking at important local issues, examining how socioeconomic differences affect environmental challenges and outcomes, and ensuring that faculty make use of good active learning teaching methods can go a long way to hooking student interest.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs
Recognize Cultural Context »
Science and academia have a culture that can be challenging for students, particularly those from groups underrepresented in the STEM fields. This workshop lead participants through exercises to help them understand their cultural self and how this may affect your teaching, explore the Western scientific approach to knowing and doing, and learn about other ways of knowing and doing that may be important in different cultures.
From the Earth Educators' Rendezvous 2016
Utilize Students' Sense of Place »
We teach about the Earth in and by means of places, which are localities given meaning by human experience, and thus are cultural features embedded in the physical landscape. Participants in this workshop explored and practiced methods of leveraging the multicultural and natural attributes of places to develop, deliver, and evaluate context-rich, place-based, culturally informed, inclusive curriculum and pedagogy.
From the Earth Educators' Rendezvous 2017

Use Societal Issues

Societal issues like environmental justice, sustainability, and environmental ethics are of great interest to today's students, and underrepresented minority students are no exception. Helping students feel some agency in addressing these inherently interdisciplinary issues provides a great hook to engage students in real-life inquiry in the classroom.

Generate Community Involvement »
Using community-centered activities creates the necessary environment for awareness, planning, and change. By taking ownership of community environmental challenges, partnerships between community members, students, faculty, and institutions can be empowered to find mutually agreeable solutions that benefit each and all of the parties.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs
Environmental Justice Across the Curriculum »
Environmental Justice is a topic that incorporates dynamic and complex scientific issues with equally complex issues of power, history, race, class, and more. As such it requires persective and information from multiple disciplines to be understood and addressed.
Infuse Sustainability into Your Course »
Bringing sustainability into your teaching offers a wide range of benefits to student learning, such as establishing relevance, bridging course content to current topics in the news, and connecting the course to other disciplines.
Inspire Your Students to Make a Difference through Civic Engagement in Societal Issues »
Help your students make connections between what they learn in the classroom and the 'real world,' get involved in the community, and prepare students for the workforce with hands-on experience.
Urban Students and Urban Issues »
This site from On the Cutting Edge contains a variety of resources for faculty members who teach undergraduate students in urban settings and for faculty interested in integrating urban geoscience issues into their undergraduate courses.

Engage with K-12 Students

One problem with attracting students to STEM majors is that by the time they reach college age, they may have lost interest in science and math, been turned off by a bad experience, or been convinced that they aren't good at them. One way to counteract this is to target resources at the middle and high school years to help keep young people engaged in science by doing science. College STEM departments have found success by sponsoring science fairs, running summer science and math camps or field trips, and implementing dual credit programs with local high schools. These and other similar strategies increase the number of students who reach college with positive science and math experiences and the ability to visualize themselves in a STEM career.

Collaborate with Other Institutions »
Strong collaborations between institutions can leverage the strengths of each to help students of all kinds succeed. Recruiting and supporting diverse learners into the workforce requires connecting the web of learning experiences that support their ultimate success.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs
Recruitment Strategies »
The Building Strong Geoscience Departments project has compiled a list of useful recruitment strategies suggested by participants at workshops on Strategies for Successful Recruitment of Geoscience Majors and Strengthening Your Geoscience Program.

Capitalize on Introductory Courses

An increasing body of research is pointing to the important role of introductory courses in drawing students into a major or driving them away. The quality of teaching and faculty engagement with students can be very influential in bringing students into the major. One study has gone so far as to call this effect "majoring in a professor." Conversely, a faculty member who does nothing but lecture and doesn't actively engage students in an introductory course can turn potentially interested students away, not only from majoring in that subject but from science as a whole.

Given that students of color cite attention from and interaction with faculty as one major contributing factor in their persisting in a STEM major, it is likely that quality introductory courses are even more important for attracting them. To capitalize on this effect, departments and divisions should know who their best teachers are and convince them to teach introductory courses.

Build Bridges Between 2YCs and 4YCs »
A large percentage of undergraduates are starting their college experience at two-year colleges. Working with 2YCs and ensuring that students' introductory course experiences engage and prepare them for their next educations steps can be a powerful force multiplier.
From a synthesis of lessons learned by InTeGrate Implementation Programs
On the Cutting Edge: Introductory Courses »
The On the Cutting Edge project has collected community expertise on teaching introductory geoscience courses through a series of professional development workshops and assembled this resource full of ideas for designing a new course, spicing up an existing course design, or adding innovative activities or teaching methods.
Student-Instructor Classroom Interaction »
The On the Cutting Edge Classroom Observation Project has developed a set of pages about what "reformed teaching" looks like in the classroom, including what this means for the interactions between students and faculty.
Starting Point: Teaching Introductory Geoscience »
The Starting Point project has developed an array of modules on particular teaching methods that are effective in teaching introductory geoscience classes. There is a discussion of what each technique is, why you might want to use it, and how to do so combined with a collection of teaching activities that make use of it.