More than one-third of the nation’s top 200 research universities are failing to retain and graduate minority students, says Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp, a problem that has not improved much over the years.
The company conducted a poll of department heads at the university, and 37 percent of them gave their schools a “C” or lower on how they retain and graduate black, Hispanic, and Native American students, said the Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Bayer surveyed heads of departments in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, which it calls “STEM” disciplines, marking the fifth time the company surveyed diversity representation in the sciences.
“For Bayer, these issues are critical,” said Bayer CEO Greg Babe. The company's businesses, he said, "can only succeed if they have access to a highly skilled STEM work force."
There are many factors keeping minority students away from the “STEM” courses. One-third of the faculty heads said the students have only limited quality college prep courses in STEM fields, and 17 percent said there was a lack of role models in the fields.
For 10 percent of the teachers, minorities’ “cultural background doesn’t value science (and/or) the pursuit of science.”
"The bottom line [is] university leadership must act," said Rebecca Lucore, executive director of the Bayer USA Foundation.
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