The Hechinger Report: OPINION - Engineering Programs Still Exclude Black Students: 4 Ways to Change This

Inclusion in STEM is vital to our economy and success

by Karl Reid

Today’s engineering field does not reflect the diversity that we know brings the best outcomes.

Black men and women are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Black men receive under 9 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Black women receive just 1 percent of engineering degrees.

We can only reach our nation’s true potential if we train a diverse population of students.

Related: To attract more blacks and Hispanics to STEM, universities must address racial issues on campus

According to a 2018 study from the Center for American Progress, “if Black and Hispanic bachelor’s degree recipients were as likely to major in engineering as white students, this country would have produced 20,000 more engineers from 2013 through 2015.”

Here are four things we can do to turn this tide and create a more inclusive and diverse population of engineers:

1. We must create an inclusive culture. Currently, the professoriate at America’s universities is much whiter than the general population. In 2013, only 6 percent of professors were black. We need to have more professors who look like the students we’re trying to recruit so that students have exemplars, and white professors can have meaningful interactions with diverse peers.

""The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

Black & African American
High School, Educator, Administration
9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, Adults

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