Low diversity in STEM fields

In an article featured in vol. 549 of Nature, published today, a study conducted by C. Koedel and D. Li found that despite increased diversity at U.S. universities, African Americans, Hispanics and women are underrepresented in STEM fields at 40 public universities from 2015 to 2016 but that there is greater diversity in non-STEM fields. They found that diversity is greater, however, among junior cohorts than senior faculty, particularly in STEM fields, primarily because younger members tend to come from more diverse backgrounds, but that African Americans are underrepresented in both STEM fields and faculty groups across biology, chemistry, economics, English, educational leadership, sociology and policy. They concluded that recruitment efforts bring no pay premiums to those who improve diversity. The study suggests that while future diversity will improve as younger cohorts mature, that underrepresented students could be nudged toward lower paying non-STEM jobs due to the current lack of diversity and role models among senior faculty in STEM fields.

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