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Exposure to Atmospheric Science in Courses at Minority-Serving Institutions

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  • 1 Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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ABSTRACT

One remedy proposed for the shortage of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in atmospheric science is greater collaboration between graduate programs in atmospheric science and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). However, if URMs have few opportunities to take relevant coursework at MSIs, then they are unlikely to pursue graduate study in atmospheric science and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. An earlier perusal of MSIs indicated that such opportunities were limited, but in the present study, a content analysis of courses offered at 180 MSIs found that 91% offered at least one course including content on atmospheric science, and that 4-yr institutions typically offered nearly four such courses. URMs who gravitate to atmospheric science careers also are influenced by courses that are inquiry based, relevant to their experiences, and emphasize discussion of implications for climate change and public policy. Half of the MSI courses related to atmospheric science at 4-yr universities incorporated some content on human–environment relationships and 11.4% focused on policy implications. Thus, most MSIs do provide opportunities for underrepresented minority students to delve into atmospheric science as well as the human dimensions of geosciences more broadly.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Dr. David MacPhee, david.macphee@colostate.edu

ABSTRACT

One remedy proposed for the shortage of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in atmospheric science is greater collaboration between graduate programs in atmospheric science and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). However, if URMs have few opportunities to take relevant coursework at MSIs, then they are unlikely to pursue graduate study in atmospheric science and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. An earlier perusal of MSIs indicated that such opportunities were limited, but in the present study, a content analysis of courses offered at 180 MSIs found that 91% offered at least one course including content on atmospheric science, and that 4-yr institutions typically offered nearly four such courses. URMs who gravitate to atmospheric science careers also are influenced by courses that are inquiry based, relevant to their experiences, and emphasize discussion of implications for climate change and public policy. Half of the MSI courses related to atmospheric science at 4-yr universities incorporated some content on human–environment relationships and 11.4% focused on policy implications. Thus, most MSIs do provide opportunities for underrepresented minority students to delve into atmospheric science as well as the human dimensions of geosciences more broadly.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR E-MAIL: Dr. David MacPhee, david.macphee@colostate.edu
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