According to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report entitled “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” less than 40 percent of students who begin college with a STEM major complete the degree. The stats are even worse for minority students: a research study conducted by The Institute for Higher Education Policy research study found that nearly 70 percent of White students, compared to 42 percent of African-American and 49 percent of Hispanic students complete their bachelor’s in a STEM field.
Dr. Govind Kannan, FVSU dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, credits the institution’s personalized approach to teaching and its nurturing environment for the impressive rankings.
“The main factor that contributed to the rankings is the quality of our faculties,”Kannan said. “ The faculty members in the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology are dedicated teachers and accomplished scholars in their respective fields that, in turn, attract high caliber students into our academic programs.”
He said that the rankings also indicate the quality of the degree programs withinCAFST. Additionally, the magazine ranked FVSU 20th nationally for producing a high number of minorities overall in the area of agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences.
“Our Ag programs have an ideal mix of classroom and lab sessions that attract students,” he said. “ Each course is carefully designed incorporating cutting-edge science and applied aspects that prepare students for both graduate education and the industry. We will continue to promote our academic research and extension programs through our Ag Communications Department. To enhance our communications with the high schools within the state, we have hired an Outreach Coordinator, who will interact with high school counselors, teachers and prospective students on a regular basis.”
According to Dr. Dawit Aberra, interim chair of the Mathematics and Computer Sciences department on campus, several factors played in high rankings for its mathematics and statistics programs. The chair attributed the program’s rankings to the university’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program, an academic pipeline that helps minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields go into energy-related careers.
“The main reason [for the national ranking], off course, is the strategic alliance between our Department and the CDEP scholars program,” said Aberra. Students earn a degree in a STEM-related field from FVSU, then transfer to a partner school where they earn another bachelor’s in an energy-related career.
“I’m delighted that CDEP played a role in bringing some of top math students to campus,” said Dr. Isaac Crumbly, associate vice president for Career and Collaborative programs said. “I am proud the university ranks sixth in the nation for minority students with bachelor’s of mathematic degrees. He says those students who lose their CDEP scholarships, are still allowed to finish their bachelor’s degrees in mathematics or other STEM-related tracks.
“Our program is very competitive,” Aberra said. “[We have a] well-trained and caring faculty members who are strongly committed to providing quality undergraduate instruction in mathematics, institutional history of serving students of color, its land-grant mission and its location, and the continued alumni moral and material support.”
The university also ranked in the top 50 in other areas nationally for producing high numbers of African-Americans. In biological and biomedical sciences, the university was ranked 34 in the nation for producing graduates in the field. In marketing, the university came in at 36 in the rankings. For computer and information sciences and support services, FVSU was ranked #44, and #46 for engineering technologies and engineering-related fields.
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