Systematic inequalities keep minority students from STEM careers

by Sharita Forrest   /   Apr 24, 2015

Lorenzo D. Baber

Research by Professor Lorenzo D. Baber of the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership suggests that the U.S. will make little progress toward changing the predominately white-male makeup of its science and technology workforce until higher education addresses the attitudes, behaviors, and structural practices that undermine minority students’ access and success at college.

Baber interviewed 32 administrators of diversity programs at 10 public research universities in the U.S.—predominately white institutions that award nearly 10 percent of all bachelor degrees in STEM fields conferred by four-year publics nationwide, as well as about 4.5 percent of STEM degrees earned by minorities.

According to these administrators, executive officers at their universities focus primarily on building compositional diversity – recruiting targeted numbers of minority students – for their STEM programs, rather than tackling the complex challenges of changing systemic inequalities and marginalizing attitudes, Baber said. 

Read the full Illinois News Bureau article by education editor Sharita Forrest.