Research shows that students of color aspire to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in college at the same rates as their white and Asian American peers. Yet, despite their interest in pursuing STEM careers, students of color remain underrepresented in STEM degree programs.
Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically black university in New Orleans, is working against that trend. At least 70 percent of Xavier’s 3,000 students are African American and 65 percent of those students major in science and mathematics. Xavier ranks first nationally in the number of African American students who earn degrees in biological/life sciences.
Additionally, for more than twenty years, Xavier has offered a series of summer bridge programs to prepare middle and high school students of color to succeed in STEM fields. Xavier’s nine STEM bridge programs, known collectively as the Summer Science Academy, serve about 600 secondary school students each summer. The programs strengthen students’ knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and literacy and focus on students’ social learning as well as their academic knowledge.
For more information about the Xavier program, read the Alliance report Building a STEM Pathway: Xavier University of Louisiana’s Summer Science Academy or click on one of the videos below.
Xavier’s ChemSTAR program emphasizes collaborative learning and encourages students to demonstrate mastery of core concepts by teaching them to their classmates.
Xavier’s bridge programs develop students’ abilities to reflect on and control their own learning.
Students in Xavier’s ChemSTAR program split their time between the classroom and lab, an instructional strategy designed to build students’ applied problem-solving skills.
Xavier’s ChemSTAR program uses formative assessment to monitor students’ learning.
To sustain year-long learning, Xavier offers professional workshops to middle and high school STEM teachers to enact new teaching strategies in math and science.
Xavier’s Stress on Analytical Reasoning (SOAR) program engages students in inquiry-based learning and emphasizes the use of scientific language and literacy.
Xavier university leaders and bridge program administrators explain the role that vocabulary development plays in enhancing students’ knowledge and understanding of STEM concepts and course work.
Xavier’s SOAR program encourages students to share ideas and explore new subjects collaboratively through group activities that tap students’ creative and performance talents.
Administrators from Xavier University of Louisiana describe the rationale, design, and impact of the university’s Summer Science Academy in response to national trends that show a declining number of African American students entering college, persisting, and earning a degree.