Diversity and Your Department

Resources for addressing diversity and inclusion

Tag: Retention


Harackiewicz, J. M., Canning, E. A., Tibbetts, Y., Giffen, C. J., Blair, S. S., Rouse, D. I., & Hyde, J. S. (2014). Closing the Social Class Achievement Gap for First-Generation Students in Undergraduate Biology. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106(2), 375–389. (PDF)

Although studies frequently address both minority and female students in STEM fields, another demographic, first-generation students, often go underserved and slip through STEM's 'leaky pipeline.' This study shows that simple interventions can help to retain first-generation students by up to 50%.


Popejoy, K., & Asala, K. S. (2013). A Team Approach to Successful Learning: Peer Learning Coaches in Chemistry. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(3), 18–23. (PDF)

This article looks at why so many students fail and drop out of introductory chemistry courses. It then proposes a method, "Team Approach to Successful Learning", that engages students in peer learning and helps to raise test scores and retention. This article is recommended to any intro science instructor.

General (Mathematics and Natural Sciences)

Bricker, L. A., Reeve, S., & Bell, P. (2014). "She Has to Drink Blood of the Snake": Culture and prior knowledge in science|health education. International Journal of Science Education, 36(9), 1457–1475. (PDF)

In this study, Bricker et al. advocate for science education that engages with students' cultural background and prior knowledge. This would aid in retaining students that may otherwise find science excludes them. While this study focuses on elementary-aged students, it continues to be important at every level of education.

Strayhorn, T. L. (2010). Undergraduate Research Participation and Stem Graduate Degree Aspirations among Students of Color. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2010(148), 85-93. (PDF)

In this report, Strayhorn outlines several statistics that give the reader a thorough look into who pursues careers in STEM-related fields. Strayhorn then moves on to show how undergraduate research opportunities work to retain STEM students through graduate school and into the workforce. This article is helpful because it neatly packages several statistics into an easy-to-read introduction to the problem of retention in science fields.


Paxton, M., Figdor, C., & Tiberius, V. (2012). Quantifying the gender gap: An empirical study of the underrepresentation of women in philosophy. Hypatia, 27, 949–957. (PDF)

The goal of this study is to provide purely empirical data on the gender breakdown of philosophy departments, based on surveys sent to U.S. institutions. In their findings, we see that there is a steady drop in female philosophers from intro courses to faculty positions. They also find a positive correlation between number of female faculty members and retention of female students in these departments. This is a good article to refer to if you need straight facts and data.