As an effort to accomplish its mission, the Rutgers University–Camden (RUC) Driving Change community performed a one-year-long self-study on equitable STEM education in our campus. This research was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Driving Change Initiative as one of 38 finalist institutions across the country dedicated to making lasting cultural change in STEM that promotes an equitable and inclusive training environment. While Rutgers University and it’s Camden campus have initiated well-designed strategic plans that target the community at large, our efforts were focused on STEM since there are unique discipline-specific challenges to promoting the beloved community we seek. Thus, these data are complementary to the larger campus-wide and university-wide efforts for building Beloved Community.
The qualitative research was conducted by the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs (WRI). The quantitative research was conducted by the RUC Data Equity group. These initial findings represent the first steps of identifying systemic barriers to achieving an equitable and inclusive STEM research and curricular ecosystem at Rutgers Camden. In the coming weeks, we will publish our interpretations of these data to identify specific barriers that can inform our strategic planning to ensure that our students, trainees, staff, and faculty can thrive in STEM. Thus, we share these data to facilitate conversation and obtain feedback.
SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS:
- STEM departments lack representation of racial minorities, tenured faculty, and guest speakers.
- Faculty feel they lack training, resources, and time to engage in DEI activities.
- Financial responsibilities prevent students from participating in STEM research and internships. Additional funding was seen as a way to overcome this barrier.
- Faculty highlighted the need for developing students’ STEM identity through more engagement with content and planning for professional STEM careers
- Students highlighted the need for differentiated teaching, tutoring, and academic guidance and mentoring to overcome content gaps upon entering college and to orient themselves around practical and career applications of the material.
- Students noted the lack of appropriate non-academic support around mental health and a sense of belonging within the STEM community.
BARRIERS TO SUCCESSFUL ENGAGEMENT IN STEM EDUCATION
BARRIERS TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN STEM EDUCATION
PROMOTING SUCCESS IN STEM
WRI EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Download WRI Executive Summary (PDF)
WRI FULL REPORT
Download WRI Full Report (PDF)
The RUCDC community is committed to identifying strategic mechanisms to address the barriers and challenges identified from this self-study, many of which are experienced nationwide at leading institutions and some of which are unique to our campus (e.g., high number of commuting students needing to work off-campus jobs and support family at home.) While we are still digesting these data to understand the fundamental elements and the structures that foster systemic STEM inequity on our campus and nationwide, we felt it important to share these findings more broadly during our planning process. We encourage you to join into the conversation as we discuss these data and identify specific mechanisms at addressing obstacles. We will be holding monthly meetings and biweekly events throughout the upcoming academic year that are designed to analyze these data, develop methods to overcome identified inequities, and promote an inclusive STEM environment.
- STOP AAPI Hate Campaign
- Stakeholder Workshop
- DEI Syllabus Workshop
- Watch Party Events
- Diversity in Seminar Speakers Survey
- RUCDC Social Events