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"Underrepresented" is not just a buzzword: A closer look at the lack of ethnic and racial diversity in the geosciences and potential solutions

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Talk given at GSA Annual Meeting.

For abstract and details: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2016AM/webprogram/Paper284916.html

For more on these topics: www.robynmdahl.com/blog

Published in: Science
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"Underrepresented" is not just a buzzword: A closer look at the lack of ethnic and racial diversity in the geosciences and potential solutions

  1. 1. “UNDERREPRESENTED” IS NOT JUST A BUZZWORD: A c l o s e r l o o k a t t h e l a c k o f e t h n i c & r a c i a l d i v e r s i t y i n t h e g e o s c i e n c e s a n d p o t e n t i a l s o l u t i o n s R O B Y N M I E K O D A H L , K Y L I E C A E S A R & M A R Y D R O S E R D E P T. O F E A R T H S C I E N C E S U C R I V E R S I D E
  2. 2. UNDERREPRESENTED What does it mean to be an underrepresented minority (URM) within the geosciences (and/or STEM)? • ”Women, persons with disabilities, and three racial and ethnic groups— blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives—are considered underrepresented in S&E. They constitute disproportionately smaller percentages of S&E degree recipients and of employed scientists and engineers than they do the rest of the U.S. population.” – NSF, 2015 • While Asians are not underrepresented in STEM, we include this group in our analysis of ethnic & racial diversity within the geosciences • Racial & ethnic groups used in this study: Hispanic or Latino, African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian
  3. 3. NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS CURRENT SNAPSHOT & PROJECTIONS Source: Pew Research Center, 2016 US Census Bureau, 2016 In 2015 • White (not Hispanic or Latino) 61.6% • African American 13.3% • Hispanic or Latino 17.6% • American Indian or Native Alaskan 1.2% • Asian 5.6% Hispanic/Latino has been the fastest growing group Asian projected to outpace Hispanic/Latino in the coming decades
  4. 4. NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS CURRENT SNAPSHOT & PROJECTIONS Source: Pew Research Center, 2016 In 2012, URM+API students comprised 40% all college students College enrollment is shifting to better reflect the nation, but we aren’t there yet Large disparity in graduation rates (enrollment =/= graduation)
  5. 5. GEOSCIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS DATA SOURCES • Earned geoscience degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD • NSF Science & Engineering Indicators Report • American Geosciences Institute (AGI) • Geoscience faculty • Estimate from National Center for Education Statistics? • Estimate from NSF Science & Engineering Indicators Report? • AGI? • Workforce • NSF Science & Engineering Indicators Report • AGI
  6. 6. GEOSCIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS Average Number of Earth Sciences Degrees Awarded per year: Bachelor’s Master’s PhD Total 3686 1310 443 White or Caucasian (not Hispanic) 3057 956 249 Asian or Pacific Islander 100 25 11 Black or African American 61 19 4 Hispanic 163 42 10 American Indian or Alaska Native 29 9 1 Other 276 260 160 Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013 US Census Bureau, 2010
  7. 7. GEOSCIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS 12 19 8 7 8 6 16 8 12 10 11 12 13 9 2 3 2 6 3 2 0 3 5 4 5 3 10 5 6 6 1 3 10 9 10 12 13 12 13 11 11 195 0 0 1 2 2 0 1 2 1 1 0 1 4 25 20 13 18 10 21 12 34 35 43 40 28 30 24 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 URM EARTH SCIENCE DOCTORATES EARNED 2000-2013 Other/Unknown Race or Ethnicity American Indian or Alaska Native Average per year, total: 443 Average per year, URM + API: 26 Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013
  8. 8. RETENTION VS. ATTRITION SCIENCE & ENGINEERING 9.27% 7.12% 6.01% 8.36% 6.78% 3.32% 8.19% 4.81% 3.35% 0.66% 0.42% 0.32% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% 26% BACH EL O R'S MAS TER'S P H D PERCENTAGE OF S&E DEGREES AWARDED TO URM STUDENTS Asian American or Asian African American or Black 26.48 % 19.13 % 13.00 % Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013 US Census Bureau, 2010 From 2000-2013, URM+API students accounted for 26.48% of Bachelor’s degrees awarded in S&E URM Bachelor’s awardees are represented at about half the share “expected” from national demographics Through higher degree levels, URM+API students experience high rates of attrition Note: within S&E, API students are overrepresented compared to national demographics (5.6% in 2015)
  9. 9. RETENTION VS. ATTRITION PHYSICAL SCIENCES 8.60% 4.93% 4.86% 5.47% 2.70% 1.72% 5.93% 3.39% 2.33% 0.61% 0.38% 0.22% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% BACHELOR'S MASTER'S PHD PERCENTAGE OF PS DEGREES AWARDED TO URM STUDENTS Asian American or Asian African American or Black 20.61 % 11.4% 9.13% From 2000-2013, URM+API students accounted for 20.61% of Bachelor’s degrees awarded in Physical Sciences Lower representation with similar attrition within Physical Sciences, compared to S&E Note: API students are overrepresented compared to national demographics at Bachelor’s but slightly underrepresented at higher degrees Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013 US Census Bureau, 2010
  10. 10. RETENTION VS. ATTRITION EARTH SCIENCES 2.63% 1.87% 2.47% 1.63% 1.40% 0.84% 4.25% 3.11% 2.13% 0.79% 0.65% 0.33% 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% BACHELOR'S MASTER'S PHD PERCENTAGE OF ES DEGREES AWARDED TO URM STUDENTS Asian American or Asian African American or Black 9.3% 7.03% 7.57% Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013 US Census Bureau, 2010 From 2000-2013, URM+API students accounted for 9.3% of Bachelor’s degrees awarded in Earth Sciences Lower representation with lower attrition within Earth Sciences, compared to Physical Sciences and S&E API are underrepresented in Earth Sciences, unlike in Physical Sciences and S&E
  11. 11. RETENTION VS. ATTRITION 26.48% 19.13% 13.00% 20.61% 11.40% 9.13%9.30% 7.03% 5.77% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Bachelor's Master's PhD URM ATTRITION RATES S&E Physical Science Earth Science URM+API comprise a smaller fraction of Earth Sciences students than in PS and S&E Earth Sciences experiences a smaller rate of attrition than in PS and S&E This suggests a failure to recruit more than retain URM students in Earth Sciences Source: NSF S&E Indicators 2000-2013
  12. 12. NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS RACE/ETHNICITY OF COLLEGE FACULTY Source: NCES, 2015 “In fall 2013, there were 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions: 51 percent were full-time and 49 percent were part-time.” “Among full-time professors, 84 percent were White (58 percent were White males and 26 percent were White females), 4 percent were Black, 3 percent were Hispanic, and 9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander. Making up less than 1 percent each were professors who were American Indian/Alaska Native and of Two or more races.”
  13. 13. COLLEGE FACULTY 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1973 1980 1987 1994 2001 2008 All Physical Sciences Faculty White Asian or Pacific Islander URM From 1973-2013, the share of URM+API has grown to represent: • 23.6% of all Physical Sciences faculty • 20.7% of full time Physical Sciences faculty Better representation than college faculty of all fields (previous slide) Unknown if these numbers serve as a realistic stand-in for the geosciences Source: NSF, 2016
  14. 14. GEOSCIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS WORKFORCE URM are even more severely underrepresented in the workforce than in academic programs Source: AGI, 2010
  15. 15. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS HOW DO WE INCREASE URM RECRUITMENT? PARTNER WITH K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS In CA, geoscience does not factor into the K-12 curriculum for college-bound students due to UC/CSU lab science requirements Outreach programs that increase URM students’ exposure to the outdoors and opportunities within geoscience can increase likelihood of a student pursuing a geoscience major in college (Stokes et al., 2015) EXAMPLE: UCR is creating a “field camp” for high school students and supplementing Environmental Science classes (funded via NSF GEOPATHS) K-12 2-Yr College 4-Yr College Master’s PhD Workforce
  16. 16. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS HOW DO WE INCREASE URM RECRUITMENT? PARTNER WITH 2YR COLLEGES Nearly half of all Physical Science bachelor’s recipients attended a 2YR college vs. 27% of geoscience graduates (AGI, 2014) 48% of Hispanic students and 36% of African American students currently enrolled attend a 2YR college (Pew, 2016) EXAMPLE: UCR offers geoscience research internships for local 2YR college students, joint field trips, mentoring, and transfer assistance (funded via NSF GEOPATHS)
  17. 17. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS GEODE Project Collaborating Institutions: Riverside City College, San Bernardino Valley College, Chaffey College, Riverside Unified School District GEODE Project Collaborators: Bill Phelps, Jeremy Standerfer, Jeffery Jambretz Others: UCR Dept. of Earth Sciences faculty and student volunteers

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