Factors Influencing the Persistence of Students Enrolled in STEM Programs at Historically Black Community Colleges
A qualitative phenomenological approach was used to investigate the role of academic integration in the persistence of students enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs at historically black community colleges. Using Tinto’s theory of persistence, four factors were examined: academic integration, faculty interaction, social integration, and student interaction. The methodology for the study included a purposeful sample of 15 students from five community colleges located in a southern state, using semi-structured interviewing for data collection. In support of Tinto’s theory, the study found that academic integration, faculty interaction, peer interaction, and social integration played an important role in the persistence of STEM students. Other themes that emerged from the data that positively influenced persistence were supportive environment, involvement, and maintaining connections. Community colleges were found to provide an important talent pool of minority STEM students who were college ready.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).