U.S. Female Students Enter College Most Prepared for STEM Studies, According to Faculty at America's Top Research Universities in a New Bayer Survey
American women entering college are the best prepared academically to hit the books and successfully graduate with a STEM degree (82 percent), according to a survey of faculty from the nation’s top 200 research universities who chair STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) departments. The survey, conducted by Bayer Corporation, is the 15th by the company and the fifth to examine the underrepresentation of women, African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians in many U.S. STEM fields.
Specifically, the chairs say being discouraged from a STEM career is still an issue today for both female and underrepresented minority (URM) STEM undergraduate students (59 percent) and that traditional rigorous introductory instructional approaches that “weed out” students early on from STEM studies are generally harmful and more so to URM (56 percent) and female (27 percent) students compared to majority students (i.e. Caucasian and Asian males). Yet, a majority (57 percent) of the chairs do not see a need to significantly change their introductory instructional methods in order to retain more STEM students, including women and URMs.
The Bayer Facts of Science Education XV survey polled 413 STEM department chairs at the country’s leading research universities and those that produce the most African-American, Hispanic and American Indian STEM graduates. The survey asks the chairs, who are largely male (87 percent) and Caucasian (88 percent) to shed light on the undergraduate environment in which today’s female and URM STEM students make their career decisions.