Commitment Form: Improving STEM Learning and Degree Completion for Students Underrepresented in STEM Fields
Consistent with the President’s goal to increase the number of college STEM graduates by 1 million over the next 10 years, institutions are asked to undertake new efforts or expand existing measures that focus on enrolling and graduating more low-income students, women, and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Specifically, institutions are asked to (1) set clear goals (e.g., increasing the number of low-income STEM graduates by 10%) and (2) engage in strategies like summer bridge programs, cohort models, exposure to STEM research and careers starting in the first year of college, overhauling introductory STEM courses to be more engaging, and other steps to improve STEM outcomes for more students.
We are encouraging commitments that:
Focus on Low-Income, Women, and Underrepresented Minority STEM Students: Support measures that focus on enrolling and graduating more low-income and underrepresented STEM students, including by setting clear goals or engaging in strategies like summer bridge programs and cohort models.
Improve Retention in STEM Fields: Overhaul introductory STEM courses to be more engaging in order to retain the 60% of freshmen who enter school planning to pursue a STEM degree but change majors before graduation. When faculty use research-based teaching strategies like active learning that allow students to solve problems and think like a scientist, students achieve far greater levels of mastery and engagement, and continue with STEM degrees at higher rates.
Support Research and Career Pathways: Strengthen project-based learning and programs that link coursework to the world of work through engaged STEM research and careers starting in the first year of college. For example, some universities are replacing traditional, “cook-book”, laboratory classes with discovery-based research courses which provide students hands-on engagement with authentic research experiences and private industry partnerships with higher education are linking student learning to job-relevant experiences that both inspire students to stay with STEM majors and better prepare students for careers after graduation.
We respectfully request that you submit the attached form no later than October 31, 2014. We intend to make these responses public in conjunction with the summit in December. While we intend to invite as many organizations making commitments as possible, we have not finalized the details of the event and will share more information in the coming weeks.
Note: Your information may be shared with other federal agencies participating in this event.
For your submission