Report on selection of majors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
We are releasing today our new report Cultivating STEM: Why West Michigan college students select majors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The Van Andel Education Institute sponsored our fall 2008 survey of West Michigan college juniors at four local schools. 888 students participated. Key findings in the report include:
- Despite a lot of talk about a shortage of qualified graduates in STEM fields, the best recent evidence is for lack of demand for graduates, not lack of supply. Survey data confirms that students are concerned about job availability and potential earnings, though these are secondary to perceived natural gifts and the opportunity to improve the lives of others. Attracting more majors to these fields will require attention to demand-side considerations like increasing employment opportunities and improving salaries for STEM workers.
- Majors in the health professions differ markedly from the rest of students in the factors they are most likely to report as influences on their major selection. They are far more likely to cite an opportunity to improve the lives of others, as well as more likely to cite demand-side matters like job availability and potential earnings.
- Significant numbers of students say they "seriously considered" a STEM-related major--enough to increase STEM enrollment more than 20 percent, had they been recruited. The vast majority of these students did not abandon STEM because it was uninteresting or too hard (though these are common rationales); rather, STEM simply lost the competition with other fields that were more attractive or interesting.
Click "READ MORE" below to see a sample chart, or just download the free PDF
Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 09:26 AM
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