September 18, 2019
Less than one third of underrepresented minority students planning to earn a STEM degree will complete their STEM degree within six years. Attrition from undergraduate STEM programs, rather than a lack of recruitment, interest or incoming academic credentials, largely accounts for the disproportionately low representation of minority students with STEM degrees. It is essential for educators, administrators, and institutions to implement practices that ensure the success of all students, especially as student populations become increasingly diverse. In an effort to increase URM retention in STEM, a program was created to address known barriers to URM success. Program participants showed significantly higher pass rates in two STEM courses and significantly increased retention rates to year two compared to non-participant underrepresented minority students. Participants performed similarly or better than non-underrepresented minority students, supporting the program’s effectiveness in reducing or eliminating the achievement gap. In this presentation, I focus on the mentoring aspects of the program and effective strategies that address habits of mind, implicit bias and student perspectives. Specifically, strategies faculty should employ to provide an environment that addresses challenges associated with being a URM student and thus increase URM retention in STEM.