The STEM Success program helps students successfully complete undergraduate STEM degrees. It grew out of a 2011 HSI grant-funded program that supported over 1,500 STEM majors (including 660 Hispanics) with a comprehensive array of services. These services include STEM-specific, coordinated articulation with two community colleges, and The Commons, a gathering area for the STEM campus community, staffed with student tutors. Additionally, 56 Hispanic students engaged in travel to conferences, monthly student meetings, mentoring, and research with STEM faculty. Practices include: student research, faculty mentoring, conference travel continue, peer mentoring, a summer experience for incoming STEM freshmen and transfer students, and a first-year general education course specifically for STEM majors.There is also an increased emphasis on developing non-cognitive skills during the first two years students spend on campus. Articulation efforts have expanded to 10 community colleges.
STEM Success aims to engage Hispanic, underserved, and low-income STEM undergraduates in comprehensive, year-round programming to improve retention, persistence, and graduation. Transfer articulation with regional community colleges will be strengthened and expanded, resulting in seamless, successful transfer so that more students can move on to Stanislaus State, and arrive better prepared to complete their STEM degrees. Specific goals include: (1) increasing the number of Hispanic, underserved, and low-income students who transfer to Stanislaus State to pursue a STEM degree, (2) improving retention within STEM majors and the institution, (3) reduce the time to degree completion, and (4) increase the number of students who graduate with a STEM degree.
A propensity score analyses compared service recipients (the majority of whom were Latino) to non-recipients. Service recipients who entered Stanislaus State as freshmen had significantly (p < .05) higher cumulative GPAs after one and two years on campus; significantly higher persistence in STEM after two, three, and four years on campus; and significantly higher five- and six-year STEM degree attainment rates. Transfer students that received services had significantly higher persistence after one and three years on campus than transfer students who did not receive services. A tree analyses was conducted to identify subgroups of students who benefited most from their services. Services within the first two years was beneficial for any student who required English remediation, 88% STEM retention, compared to 42% STEM retention for non-recipients. English remediation is required for 41% of Latino STEM freshmen at Stanislaus, but only 34% of non-Latino STEM freshmen.
Data on Hispanic STEM majors:
- Freshmen grew from 74 total at the start of the program (43% of incoming STEM majors) to 118 last year (54% of STEM majors)
- Transfers increased from 33 students to 59 students
- Transfers completed 64% of their major prerequisites compared to a 23% baseline
- Students passed an average of 85% of the units taken in their first year on campus compared to the 78% baseline
- The average GPA increased from 2.80 to 2.93
- Students who participated in at least one program service during their first two years had a two-year STEM major retention rate of 70%, while the rate for Hispanics who did not participate was only 49%
- Last year 64 total Hispanic students received STEM degrees, compared to only 38 when the program began
- This 68% increase is much greater than the 11% growth in non-Hispanic STEM degrees
- Hispanics now comprise 34% of all STEM graduates at Stanislaus State, higher than the the CSU average (21%)