Motivation and Barriers of under-represented groups in STEM courses and employment.
The project aims to:
1- carry out a literature review of participation of different under represented audiences and how they view STEM courses, in order to identify what students look for in courses they choose;
2- identify what messages young people for under represented groups would like to hear about STEM courses and careers. In other words, focus on what STEM needs to offer to attract and retain people to study or work in it.
3- use these findings to make recommendations in a report for the HE STEM departments, STEM employers, and for policy makers.
4- provide a workshop for HE STEM departments, employers and policy makers on how best to support and encourage different groups of students.
The work will help HE departments to understand disciplinary differences in terms of learning experiences of STEM subjects and what would persuade and dissuade from taking STEM subjects and employment. This insight will help HE to understand how to promote their subjects better to potential students and what needs to be done to help towards the skills shortage in STEM.
The project will reveal issues about impacts of STEM courses and how the HE sector could assist in addressing shortcomings to encourage students to consider STEMrelated subjects at university. However, it is also hoped that the consultation with other HEIs and the workshops, project report and publication will encourage STEM staff in other HEIs to adopt the proposed strategies and customise them according to their specific circumstances.
The University of Southampton School of Education is co=itted to the success of this project, and as such has allocated a substantial amount of teaching time to the project by two senior members of academic staff (Dr Marcus Grace and Dr Janice Griffiths).
The main outcomes of the evaluation will be:
• the workshop described above
• a report for the funders in May 2011, providing findings and making recommendations for HE STEM departments, professional organisations and policy makers.
• Literaturelhandouts to demonstrate findings.
• the plan is also to publish a research paper in an education journal at the end of the project.
The stakeholders involved in the project are:
I. Participants in study:
• GCSE (30) - Science and Maths Students
• A-level (50) - Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Maths this will also include participants who are choosing to study medicine or dentistry at university.
• Degree (60) - Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Maths, ISVR and other types of engineering. We will be comparing these students to participants studying medicine and dentistry (30).
= 170 interviewees in total. This may change depending on circumstances.
2. HE STEM staff -Marketing and Admissions tutors (as many as possible will be contacted) in order to disseminate our results to them.
3. Professional Bodies (all STEM-related ones will be contacted)
4. Organisations such as dentists, medicine and opticians where there is a higher diverse range of people within it.
5. Existing data is already available (130 interviews and 269 questionnaires) for those in computing and IT. This was conducted as part of a PhD study (pau 2009), the data from these will be re-used.
• We will be recruiting a diverse range of students, focusing specifically on gender, ethnicity and also paying attention to disability.