ERIC Number: EJ930702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-12
Reference Count: 0
A Very Fragile STEM: Why We Are Stifled in the Sciences
Halfond, Jay A.
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jul 2010
Unlike so many other fields, the sciences tend to sort people early in their lives between insiders and everyone else. Those excluded early--or who eventually drift away from science--are rarely, if ever, welcomed back. As a result, scientific understanding, except for those who make it their career, atrophies over time. The sciences do not welcome late bloomers, career changers, dabblers or dilettantes. Belated junctures to get on the train in "STEM" (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are rare and uninviting. Adults--no matter how bright, curious and industrious--are not able to circle back to a serious pursuit in the sciences. The problems all lead in the same direction: Future scientists are screened early on, weeded out in their late teens, demoralized in their college years--and never recruited again as adults. Part-time, professional education--so often the device to recalibrate careers and respond to new opportunities--rarely accommodates those who want to opt into an applied science. Rarely do professional master's degree programs welcome those without technical academic backgrounds, no matter how strong their grades might have been, and few programs (especially at more prestigious institutions) are designed for part-time, working adult students. Often the number of prerequisites are comparable to a second major and as numerous as the master's degree itself. Rarely do technology companies fund tuition reimbursement at the same levels as other industries. Schools of continuing education have little in their portfolios for those who want to reinvent themselves as scientists. This purely linear, ever-diminishing assembly line approach is not in the best interests of individuals, corporations, scientific advancement or national policy.
Descriptors: Continuing Education, Masters Programs, Adult Students, Career Change, Sciences, Technology, Scientists, Tuition, STEM Education, Higher Education, Engineering, Engineering Education, Science Education, Science Instruction, Technology Education, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Education
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A