Enhancing Diversity in STEM Interdisciplinary Learning

Reginald A. Blake (New York City College of Technology, City University of New York, USA) and Janet Liou-Mark (New York City College of Technology, City University of New York, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 267
EISBN13: 9781466629158|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2214-2.ch010
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The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines have traditionally been woefully unsuccessful in attracting, retaining, and graduating acceptable numbers of Underrepresented Minorities (URMs). A new paradigm of STEM practices is needed to address this vexing problem. This chapter highlights a novel interdisciplinary approach to STEM education. Instead of being siloed and mired in their respective STEM disciplines, students integrate real world, inquiry-based learning that is underpinned by a strong foundation in mathematics and a myriad of other pillars of STEM activities. These activities include Peer-Assisted Learning Workshops, Mentoring Programs, Undergraduate Research Experiences, STEM Exposure Trips, Conference Participation, and Peer Leadership. This strategy enhances STEM education among URMs by purposefully connecting and integrating knowledge and skills from across the STEM disciplines to solve real-world problems, by synthesizing and transferring knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, and by building critical thinking skills in a manner that is relevant to their experiences and yet transformative.
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