National Report Places TAMIU in Top 25 for Latino STEM Success
Posted: 01/07/2010

National Report Places TAMIU in Top 25 of
Universities Posting Latino STEM Success

A new study by the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education places Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) among the nation’s top 25 universities to be considered exemplars of good practices that lead to the graduation of more Latinos in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The three-year research project, financed by the National Science Foundation, is called “Benchmarking the Success of Latina and Latino Students in STEM to Achieve National Graduation Goals.”

Focusing on six states with large Latino populations: Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York and Texas, the project examined some 200 colleges and universities identified as Hispanic-serving. Project authors are Dr. Alicia C. Dowd, Dr. Lindsey E. Malcom and Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon.

In particular, the report cites TAMIU within its institutions that offer Benchmark Equity Indicators of STEM Degrees Awarded to Latinos, noting TAMIU’s 92.3% Hispanic STEM enrollment and 96.80% STEM degrees awarded.

TAMIU provost and vice president for academic affairs Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the University is excited by the recognition and peer reinforcement of its dedicated efforts.

“We’ve arrived at this measurable success by some very hard work. We have a number of programs that provide assistance to undergraduate students interested in STEM fields, targeted outreach efforts to local schools, focused counseling and advising, student tracking, scholarship programs and, most importantly, a very dedicated STEM faculty that works closely with our students. It’s a model effort and we’re very excited that others are recognizing this,” Dr. Arenaz said.

The USC researchers noted that while over the past two decades the number of Latinos participating in higher education has doubled, STEM participation has not seen the same growth. Interest is strong, they maintain, indicating that among Latinos enrolling at four-year institutions, 36% indicated an intention to major in STEM fields and do so at rates similar to whites and African Americans. They suggest more should be done to channel and amplify this interest.

The researchers maintain that in order for colleges and universities to achieve the national degree completion goals outlined by President Obama in the new Graduation Initiative and the America COMPETES Act, all will need to find new ways to help students succeed.

The authors suggest that the institutions included in the report should ideally serve as a “point of departure for organizing a peer group for diagnostic benchmarking,” concluding “we recommend that other institutions analyze the involvement of Latina and Latino students in STEM fields for their campuses and set performance benchmarks for equitable inclusion.”

The report is available at cue.usc.edu/news/NSF-Report

Prospective students can also visit tamiu.edu/prospect for more detailed information specific to new, transfer, graduate and international students.

University offices are now open, but will close on Monday, Jan. 18 in a State-authorized observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Office of the Registrar is located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 168.

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