Increase the Diversity of your Graduates
Why Focus on Diversity? »Attracting, supporting, and preparing minority students in Geoscience and STEM disciplines
What do we mean by "Diversity"?
InTeGrate defines diversity broadly including ethnic and racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, veterans and active duty military personnel, people of low socioeconomic status, LGBTQ individuals, and other groups that are not represented in the geosciences in proportion to their abundance in society.
In order to persist in STEM majors, students must first be attracted to them. The state of minority participation in STEM majors has shown improvement over the last decade, but more can be done. There are a number of proven strategies faculty and departments can use to increase student interest in STEM majors.
Multifaceted approaches to supporting students in STEM majors are the most effective strategies regardless of the student population but especially important for increasing the success of underrepresented minority students in STEM. Faculty, departments, and institutions have a number of options when it comes to creating a sense of belonging, strengthening mentoring and advising, and helping students feel comfortable seeking help.
Embedding workforce and career preparation into programs is a powerful way to increase participation of diverse students in Geoscience and other STEM disciplines. Many students from underrepresented groups are looking for careers in high pay and status fields. Showcasing those opportunities and helping students build the skills and habits of mind necessary for success can help close a positive feedback loop by attracting more such students to the program and help them persist to graduation.
InTeGrate Program Models
Several of the InTeGrate program models had a particular emphasis on increasing the diversity geoscience learners and broadening participation in learning about the Earth. Their program pages are deep descriptions of program design, implementation, and outcomes. From these examples, you can learn ways of increasing the number of geoscience job and internship opportunities available from local industry, increasing Earth literacy among underrepresented minority undergraduates, providing professional development for faculty in diversity awareness, and other important topics. You can also see a synthesis of lessons learned about attracting and supporting diverse learners drawn from the experiences of all the implementation teams.
InTeGrate Course Materials
Some of the courses and modules developed by InTeGrate authors have a particular focus on issues of equity, diversity, and environmental justice. Increasing the use of such materials in your program can attract a broader range of students to learning about geoscience.
InTeGrate Workshops and Webinars
A number of InTeGrate-sponsored workshops and webinars have gathered community expertise on diversity issues.
- Putting Sustainability into Action: New Strategies for Courses and Programs
- Pan-African Approaches to Teaching Geoscience
- Strengthening Geoscience Competency for HBCU Pre-Service Teachers Workshop
- Coastal Hazards, Risk, and Environmental Justice
- Broadening Access to the Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Teaching Environmental Justice: Interdisciplinary Approaches
- Ways to Support All Students
- Water and Food Sustainability
- Teaching Sustainability and Environmental Justice in the Humanities and Social Sciences
- The Importance of Diversity and Equity in Supporting the Whole Student
- Connecting Science to Issues of Justice in your Course
- Working with Diverse Students on Societally Relevant Geoscience Issues
There are successful efforts to attract and support diverse students learning about the Earth in many institutions around the country. The profiles in this collection can serve as models and inspiration for departments and programs that aspire to broaden participation in the geosciences. The programs profiled range from traditional geoscience programs to interdisciplinary approaches in chemistry, physics, or biology departments. Successful strategies include extensive outreach programs, scholarship opportunities, clear articulation agreements between community colleges and universities, peer and faculty mentoring, access to tutoring or other academic support programs, and tailoring courses within the geoscience program to careers students can pursue with an undergraduate degree. Many of the program profiles in this collection were submitted by participants in the 2014 workshop Broadening Access to the Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Faculty participants in the 2014 workshop Broadening Access to the Earth and Environmental Sciences contributed essay on the subject of how their programs help students understand relevance of the geosciences to their everyday lives.