Beyond Access. Assessing Institutional Barriers for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM & High Employer Demand Majors
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Access to higher education in Washington State public institutions has reached an unprecedented level for underrepresented minorities (URM); completion rates in STEM and high demand majors however lag behind other groups. Nationwide, URM make up 1/3 of school age population but only comprise 11% of those in STEM occupation. Job growth is increasing in the STEM and high employer demand fields faster than in other fields and, according to the US Census bureau, URM are the fastest growing ethnicities and will become the majority in the US in the coming decades. As demand for STEM and high employer demand graduates increases, higher education policy and practices need to support the reality that an innovative economy in the future will require leveraging a diverse workforce. This study surveys the access to STEM and high employer demand majors among URM students. The quantitative design at the institution level uses data from academic year 2013/14 from public higher education institutions in Washington State to determine URM’s level of access and success; At the individual level, the design focuses on the fall 2010 and fall 2011cohorts of first time full time college goers enrolled at the University of Washington Bothell, and attempts to analyze how institutional policies and practices might be related to access for URM in STEM and high employer demand degrees.
- MA in Policy Studies