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Overcoming Barriers in Access to High Quality Education After Matriculation: Promoting Strategies and Tactics for Engagement of Underrepresented Groups in Undergraduate Research via Institutional Diversity Action Plans

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Journal of STEM Education Volume 19, Number 1, ISSN 1557-5284 Publisher: Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Engineering Education (LITEE)


Considerable work is still required to eliminate disparities in postsecondary STEM persistence and success across student groups. Engagement in faculty-mentored research has been employed as one strategy to promote personal, professional, and academic gains for undergraduate students, although barriers exist that make it more difficult for some to participate than others. In this article, we highlight three guiding strategies for structuring institutional diversity action plans that will help ensure equitable access to undergraduate research experiences. Relevant to these three strategies, we propose five specific tactics that educators and institutional leaders will find attainable in relatively short time frames, in addition to a questionnaire for institutional self-assessment related to these tactics. By following the recommendations outlined in this article, and thereby establishing an infrastructure for equitable access to undergraduate research experiences, we assert that institutions can begin to close educational achievement gaps, meet growing U.S. workforce demands, and uphold the democratic ideals of higher education.


Pierszalowski, S., Vue, R. & Bouwma-Gearhart, J. (2018). Overcoming Barriers in Access to High Quality Education After Matriculation: Promoting Strategies and Tactics for Engagement of Underrepresented Groups in Undergraduate Research via Institutional Diversity Action Plans. Journal of STEM Education, 19(1),. Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Engineering Education (LITEE). Retrieved February 16, 2019 from .


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