More specifically, how can U.S. academic libraries help retain undergraduates in the science majors? That’s the topic I’ll be exploring in this blog, and I hope you’ll join me in the undertaking. It’s widely known in U.S. higher education there are not enough science majors “in the pipeline” to meet the needs of an increasingly technological society and competitive global economy. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology called for one million additional STEM college graduates over the next decade in their 2012 report. How can librarians contribute to this initiative? Whatever your perspective is on this topic – including the view that academic librarians shouldn’t be in the retention business at all – join me on this exploration. I suspect we’ll discover that science librarians already contribute much to student persistence. Together we can brainstorm even more ways to help undergraduates progress through the STEM pipeline.

4 Responses to “How Can We Retain College Students in the STEM Disciplines?”

  1. Linda Whitworth-Reed

    Curiosity and lust are two of the strongest motivators. Scratch lust. Increase curiosity. Instead of seeing libraries as having answers, see them as the repositories of unasked questions. I refer you to the recent TED Talk by Stuart Firestein, “The pursuit of ignorance.”

  2. SusanW

    My k-12 science classes were fantastic. I apply the theory of every action has an equal and opposite reaction to most situations in life. I learned this theory early. My enthusiasm for science was crushed in college by uninspired instructors and textbooks that were written by scientists for scientists.

    I’m not saying that all science instructors have to be Bill Nye the Science Guy, but expressing a little enthusiasm goes a long way to keep students interested.

    • emo0012

      Sorry that college courses ruined the wonders of science for you, Susan. An experience that greatly motivated me was actually working in a biology laboratory as an undergraduate through a program sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, see The Biology Department at the University of North Texas has been awarded grants through HHMI to get students involved in research early, and I’ve done library instruction for these promising students.


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