A Collective Impact Model Towards Increasing STEM Major Student Retention
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This article presents the research findings of a multidisciplinary team's collective research effort at one university over a five-year period as funded by the National Science Foundation's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program. A collaborative learning and retention action research effort at a large Hispanic Serving Institution is analyzed using mixed methods to document the power of collective impact as the foundation for a learning support model for students historically underrepresented majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academic programs. The actions of the team of researchers are presented to describe the Rising Stars Collective Impact model and the impacts achieved. This is a model that aligns objectives, intervention efforts, and reports collective results. The long-term goals of the Rising Stars Collective Impact multiple programs managed by the funded program team included the following: (a) to improve the campus sense of community for students historically under-represented in STEM, (b) to establish innovative and robust STEM education research-based practices to support critical skill attainment for students, and (c) to support faculty understanding of the funds of knowledge of diverse students. The positive student retention and success impacts of this research effort are measured through quantitative statistical analysis of the changes in second-year STEM undergraduate student retention rates and representation rates of women, Hispanics, and African American STEM majors.