Theoretical perspectives on increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in the geosciences

Caitlin N. Callahan, Nicole D. LaDue, Lorenzo D. Baber, Julie Sexton, Katrien J. van der Hoeven Kraft, Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

For decades, programs targeting the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities (URM) have had local success in broadening participation in the geosciences. Meanwhile, national graduation rates of URM geoscience majors fall below the national graduation rates of URM STEM majors, generally. In this literature review, we summarize methods used to investigate the efficacy of geoscience recruitment and retention programs, and we propose avenues of future investigation into why programs are successful. First, we categorize a decade of recent publications in the Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE) according to Astin’s Input–Environment–Output (IEO) model. This model offers a classification scheme to evaluate how inputs (e.g., student characteristics) and environment (e.g., program attributes) may influence desired outputs (e.g., results of programs). Next, we discuss a set of social, cognitive, and psychological theories that support deeper investigation into the reasons why recruitment and retention programs are successful with particular groups. There is an observable trend in the geoscience literature after 2009 toward interventions that include all components of the IEO model and random assignment (i.e., ‘‘natural experiments’’). We argue that self-efficacy, identity, microaggressions, stereotype threat, and social cognitive career theory offer perspectives that can guide future programmatic interventions and support the geoscience community in broadening participation in the geosciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-576
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Broadening participation
  • Diversity
  • Theoretical frameworks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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