A Literature Review of STEM Graduate Education
The Road to the STEM Professoriate for Underrepresented Minorities
The National Science Foundation's Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program is specifically designed to address obstacles and increase the number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) completing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) doctoral degrees and entering the professoriate.
Through an NSF grant, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the AGEP program. The evaluation seeks to determine the value AGEP adds to the recruitment, retention, and graduation of URMs in STEM disciplines and whether the program helps increase participants’ interest in STEM professoriate careers. The purpose of this literature review is to inform AIR’s national evaluation of AGEP.
The review follows a “pathways” approach that examines how URMs enter and advance through STEM careers. These pathways include four components. First, “attraction” begins when children and youth are drawn to STEM-related subjects during their elementary and secondary education experiences. “Retention” pertains to why they choose to continue learning these subjects through the undergraduate level and “persistence” focuses on what enables them to pursue graduate education in related disciplines. Finally, “attachment” considers the supports to their entrance and perseverance in the STEM workforce.