The persistence of African-American students at two-year historically black colleges in science, technology, engineering and mathematics utilizing tinto’s model

April 3rd, 2014 by webmaster

Latitia D. McCane, EPh.D. Student | Bishop State Community College, Mobile, Alabama

The purpose of this study was to examine STEM on historically black community college campuses in order to understand the role this environment plays in African American students’ academic and social integration on campus; interaction with other STEM students and faculty; and their persistence in STEM. In order to solve the low graduation rate of minorities in STEM, there has been a national movement to recruit and retain students from Community Colleges. Tinto’s model of persistence was the theoretical framework applied to a phenomenological study to document the experiences, perspectives, and recommendations of fifteen African-American students currently enrolled in STEM pathways at five historically black community colleges in Alabama.

This study was guided by the following research questions: (1) What kind of college experiences did students have from participating in STEM courses? (2) How did academic integration influence persistence toward degree completion? (3) How did social integration influence persistence toward degree completion? (4) What was the influence of faculty mentoring on adaptation to academic environment of the college? (5) How did interacting with other students influence their persistence toward degree completion in STEM pathways? Student interviews gave some insight on the role two year historically black colleges play in the persistence of African-American students in STEM. This study proved that Community Colleges have a traditional age talent pool in STEM that is college ready.

The fifteen students in this study were traditional age college students and the results of the findings indicated that they were academically and socially integrated into their college environment. Participants credit their institution, faculty, peers, and themselves working collaboratively to achieve their educational goals. All fifteen students in this study will earn their two year degree and transfer to a four year college or university in STEM.

Posted in Student Research