The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a lengthy article entitled, “The STEM Crisis: Reality or Myth?” Various experts in science policy and labor trends contributed their views, and in the end, I was left wondering whether I should even continue this blog.

 But then I started reading a major study of STEM majors published in 1997, Talking about Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences, by Seymour and Hewitt. It became clear to the researchers after interviewing 460 STEM undergraduates that switching majors is merely the tip of “the problem iceberg” (pp. 46-47). Both students who switched to non-science majors and those who stuck with STEM disciplines identified many of the same dissatisfactions with STEM disciplines, two of the top ones being, inadequate help with academic problems and advising, and discovering that their reasons for choosing a STEM major were inappropriate. STEM crisis, or no, there is still a need for academic librarians to investigate how we can contribute to improving the educational experience of STEM undergraduates. Providing help with “academic problems” and accurate career information to support realistic selection of majors are areas where we can definitely make an impact.  

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