CSU, Chico News

Forbes Magazine Lists CSU, Chico in Top 20 Schools that Help Minorities Succeed in Science and Math

Date: 12-17-2010

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Mike Ward, dean
College of ECC

Forbes Magazine recently set out to determine which colleges and universities in the nation do the best job of graduating women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In the Dec. 15 ForbesMagazine.com, Forbes released two lists of best colleges: one for women and one for minorities. California State University, Chico is listed 15th on the top 20 list of "The Best Colleges for Minorities in STEM."

Graduating students STEM is a priority for higher education. Not only do graduates in these fields earn more, but also the fields are collectively considered core to an advanced society and key to the United States’ success in the global marketplace. To meet increasing needs for science graduates, the educational system needs to attract and hold women and minority students, who continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields.

The researchers examined all 400 schools in Forbes' ranking of “America’s Best Colleges” and eliminated those with extremely small overall STEM populations and those with very low rates of men who obtained STEM degrees. They ranked the remaining schools “based on how closely they approached an ideal where STEM classrooms look like the school overall,” first for women, then minorities. Black, Hispanic and American Indian students (groups typically underrepresented in STEM) were compared to white and Asian students (groups typically highly represented).

The top-ranked college on the list for minorities in STEM is Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, a small Catholic college in Winona, Minn. There are only two colleges in California represented, Westmont College in Santa Barbara (a small liberal arts college) and CSU, Chico. Chico is the only CSU represented.

“I attribute much of the success in recruiting and graduating minority students in ECC to our MESA Engineering Program,” said Mike Ward, dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management. “MESA has been instrumental in recruiting good students, retaining them with financial and academic assistance, and thereby helping educationally disadvantaged students become successful graduates of the college.”

“We have several campuswide programs that contribute to the success of our students,” said Margaret Owens, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “The College of Natural Sciences is the home of our Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, which supports students who have faced social, educational or economic barriers to higher education. Through educational opportunities such as the Calculus Summer Boot Camp and supplemental instruction, we strengthen the problem-solving and mathematical skills that are so important to students as they progress through STEM majors.”

The article, “Best Colleges for Women and Minorities in STEM,” and the lists can be found at http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/10/best-colleges-minorities-women-science-lifestyle-education-stem.html.