Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 11: Achieving Greater Diversity through Curricular Change

Ilene J. Busch-Vishniac and Jeffrey P. Jarosz


Ilene J. Busch-Vishniac and Jeffrey P. Jarosz INTRODUCTION Although majority males are more likely to enroll in high school advanced placement science and math courses than are women and underrepresented minorities, it is at the undergraduate college level – when students are free to choose a school and a discipline – that the science, math and engineering classroom displays a distinct lack of diversity for the first time. Further, since a technical major in college is required for entry into science and engineering professions, this lack of diversity in college classrooms presages the lack of diversity seen in the technical professions. Without a change toward greater diversity at the college level, it is clear that we will not achieve significant diversity gains in the engineering and science professions. In the USA, women are now 58 percent of all college students and 50 percent of those in science and engineering. However, within the technical fields there are big differences. Women are 51 percent of chemistry majors but only 22 percent of physics students and 20 percent of engineering students. Within engineering, women are only 14 percent of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering majors (Dedicated Engineers, 2006a). For underrepresented minorities, the problem is even more noticeable than for women. From 1993 to 1999 the African-American enrollment in engineering fell by 17 percent (Wulf, 2002, p. 20). The current African-American share of baccalaureates in science and engineering is 8.4 percent overall, but only 5.0 percent in engineering and 4.0 percent in physics....

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