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STEM in CSU: Resources that Strengthen the STEM Pipeline


The objective of this research was to identify relationships that are associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduation rates among the California State University (CSU) system. Specifically targeting resource allocation strategies and institutional characteristics, this investigation examined relationships unique within the STEM pipeline and success rates of underrepresented minority (URM, including Black, Latinx, and Southeast Asian) STEM students. The dataset for this investigation was constructed from three public access sources, with research questions targeting aspects unique to public comprehensive universities in California. The statistical technique employed was a piecewise-multilevel growth model used to examine relationships among resource allocation strategies, institutional characteristics, the Great Recession, and URM STEM graduation rates with overall STEM graduation rates.

Analysis revealed a positive relationship of overall STEM graduation rates to student services support, a negative relationship to institutional support, and no significant relationship found with federal training grant support. Latnix STEM graduation rates showed the strongest positive relationship with overall STEM graduation rates, and both Black and Southeast Asian showing a positive relationship but to a lesser degree. The unique context of comprehensive institutions highlights the need for decision-makers to evaluate their resource allocation strategies and possibly divert more resources to student services support over instructional support. This research clearly highlights the importance of better understanding the relationship between institutional efforts and STEM student outcomes.

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