UNO
MCC
NSF

STEP Social Climate


First Annual Report
October 11, 2005

Respondents  Social Climate  Mentoring  Seeking Help  Research Experiences  Evaluators

This report describes the results of an evaluation of the "social climate" in the sciences at UNO, which was conducted during the spring 2005 semester. Its general purpose was to learn more about some of the factors that may affect students' decisions to major in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas.

We asked students who were enrolled in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics courses during the spring 2005 semester to complete a brief questionnaire. Students were asked about their experiences with mentoring, seeking help from professors, and research experiences, as well as about their overall perceptions of the social climate at UNO generally and in STEM areas more specifically. More than 300 students (about one-third were female) responded, completing questionnaires either at the conclusion of class or on-line. Those ethnic minority students who participated were primarily Asian/Pacific Islander. Only 21 students identified themselves as members of other ethnic minority groups, which limits our ability to identify issues that may be of particular concern to ethnic minority students who are underrepresented in STEM areas.

The results of the evaluation were remarkably positive. More specifically, the results indicated that:

  • Students perceived their interactions with science professors just as positively as their interaction with UNO professors more generally—and this was true of both science majors and non-majors. Indeed, analyses of individual items suggested that this aspect of social climate was more positive for the sciences than for UNO as a whole.
  • Students’ feelings of isolation were relatively low. In addition, science majors and non-majors did not differ in their feelings of isolation.
  • Science majors felt like they belonged in their science classes more than at UNO in general, whereas the reverse was true for non-majors.
  • Students (especially non-majors) judged the treatment of ethnic minorities and women to be more positive in the sciences than at UNO as a whole.
  • Students perceived that science faculty and instructors respect ethnic minority students and women. Indeed, students were significantly less positive about other students than about the faculty.
  • Female students felt more isolated in their science classes than at UNO more generally, whereas the reverse was true for male students.
  • Majors and non-majors were equally unlikely to report having a mentor – less than 20% of the students reported that they had a mentor. Female students were more likely than male students to have a mentor.
  • Students who had mentors were generally satisfied with the mentoring they had received.
  • Both majors and non-majors believed that talking to professors individually would be valuable. However, majors reported that they had greater opportunity to do so.
  • Only 12.92% of majors and 8.85% of non-majors indicated that they had worked with an individual faculty member to conduct research at UNO. Female students were more likely than male students to have had research experience. Of the 27 majors who had research experience, approximately 1/3 were ethnic minority students.
  • Students who had research experience perceived that experience to be an important part of their education.

The remainder of this report provides more detailed information about the students who responded to the questionnaire, the types of questions that were asked, and the results of our analyses.

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Respondents

A total of 400 students who were enrolled in STEM classes completed questionnaires; 133 did so on-line. We eliminated data from students who a) indicated they were graduate students, b) had completed more than 200 credit hours, or c) were STEM majors, but completed questionnaires for other STEM areas (i.e., not for their particular majors), resulting in a sample of 333. As the table below indicates, just over half indicated that they were STEM majors. Biology students were recruited solely through e-mail, completing the web version of the questionnaire. Clearly, we were not as successful in recruiting Biology students, especially when one considers that Biology is the largest of the STEM areas.

Percentage of Respondents by STEM Area and Major vs. Non-Major
       
  Majors Non-Majors Total
Biology 6.91 1.20 8.11
Chemistry 7.21 15.61 22.82
Computer Science 26.73 5.11 31.84
Geology 3.60 0.00 3.60
Math 17.12 3.60 20.72
Physics    3.90       9.01       12.91   
Total 65.47 34.53 100.00

The percentages of respondents by ethnicity and major versus non-major status are shown in the following table. The majority of ethnic minority students identified themselves as Asian/Pacific Islander; only 21 respondents identified themselves as members of other ethnic minority groups, which are the groups that are underrepresented in the sciences and in college more generally.

Percentage of Respondents by Ethnicity and Major vs. Non-Major
       
  Majors Non-Majors Total
White 44.14 23.42 67.57
Asian/Pacific Islander 13.81 6.31 20.12
Black 1.50 2.10 3.60
Native American --- --- 1.80
Latino --- --- <1.00
Unknown    4.50       1.50       6.01   
Total     100.00

Of the 242 students who provided identifying information (gender was not an item on the questionnaire), 37.19% (61 majors, 29 non-majors) were female and 62.81% (117 majors, 35 non-majors) were male.

In addition, 9.09% (13 majors, 9 non-majors) were first-year students, 20.25% (27 majors, 22 non-majors) were sophomores, 23.14% (42 majors, 14 non-majors) were juniors, and 47.52% (96 majors, 19 non-majors) were seniors. These numbers likely partially reflect the tendency for students to declare their majors after they are well into their college careers. In any case, the STEM majors we recruited (at least, those who provided identifying information – credit hours earned was also not on the questionnaire) earned significantly more credit hours (M = 93.33, SD = 42.15) than did the non-majors (M = 72.73, SD = 46.39), F(1, 240) = 10.65, p = .001.

Finally, the majority (63.86%) was employed off campus; 15.26% were employed on campus and 20.87% were not employed. These percentages, which are based on the full sample of respondents, were nearly identical for majors and non-majors.

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Social Climate

Science majors and non-majors who were enrolled in science classes judged UNO in general and science departments more specifically with respect to a set of items (listed on the following page) that have been used to assess "social climate." We averaged across items within four potentially distinct areas: interactions with professors, feelings of belonging and/or identification, feelings of isolation or disconnectedness, and respect for ethnic and gender differences. The mean responses to individual items and averages across items in each of the four areas are reported in the table on the following page. We analyzed these measures as a function of target (whether judgments were of UNO generally or science specifically) and whether respondents were science majors or not.

Overall, students were remarkably positive in their views of the social climate at UNO and in the sciences. More specifically,

  • Students rated their interactions with science professors just as positively as their interaction with UNO professors more generally – and this was true of both science majors and non-majors. Indeed, analyses of individual items suggested that this aspect of social climate was more positive for the sciences than for UNO as a whole.
  • Students rated feelings of isolation as relatively low; science majors and non-majors did not differ in feelings of isolation.
  • Science majors felt like they belonged in their science classes more than at UNO in general, whereas the reverse was true for non-majors, F(1, 330) = 33.70, p < .0001. This effect was evident when differences in the number of credit hours earned was controlled, F(1, 238) = 27.35, p < .0001. (Recall that credit hours earned was available only for a subset of the larger sample.)
  • Students (especially non-majors) judged the treatment of ethnic minorities and women to be more positive in the sciences than at UNO as a whole, F(1, 330) = 33.52, p < .0001.
  • The only significant ethnic group difference that emerged was in students’ judgments of the extent to which faculty respected students of different ethnic backgrounds. The difference was such that minority non-majors agreed with the statement more strongly for science faculty (M = 5.69) than for the UNO faculty as a whole (M = 5.13), whereas there was virtually no difference among white majors, minority majors, or white non-majors. (The latter means ranged from 5.54 to 5.82 on a 7-point scale.)
  • Students generally indicated that science faculty and instructors respect ethnic minority students and women. Students were significantly less positive about other students than about the faculty.
  • The only gender difference to emerge was in feelings of isolation. Female students felt more isolated in their science classes than at UNO more generally, whereas the reverse was true for male students, F(1, 328) = 7.56, p < .01.
Mean Responses to Items Assessing Social Climate as a Function of Target and Major vs. Non-Major
         
  STEM Majors Non-Majors
  At UNO In Science At UNO In Science
Interactions with professors 5.38 5.48 5.27 5.32
Professors treat students with respect. 4.76 5.59 4.68 5.54
Professors often treat students unfairly. (R) 5.30 5.45 5.36 5.30
The professors care about students. 5.24 5.36 5.01 5.17
I feel comfortable approching my professors for help. 5.36 5.53 5.17 5.27
         
Belonging/identification 4.78 5.29 4.64 4.40
The atmosphere is friendly. 5.00 5.39 4.90 5.01
I feel like I belong. 4.76 5.49 4.68 4.07
I feel involved in what is happening. 3.55 4.38 3.42 3.17
I am generally satisfied with my experiences. 5.34 5.49 5.16 4.80
I like to identify myself as a UNO student. 5.24 5.68 5.06 4.97
Overall, I like the ______ department.        
         
Isolation 3.04 2.93 3.06 3.10
I often feel intimidated by my professors. 3.15 3.00 3.18 2.94
I feel somewhat out of place in my classes. 3.06 2.87 3.00 3.11
I feel disconnected from other students. 3.45 3.12 3.33 3.20
I often feel intimidated by other studens in my classes. 2.49 2.74 2.72 3.17
         
Respect for ethnicity/gender 5.59 5.78 5.36 5.79
Faculty respect studnets of different ethnic backgrounds. 5.74 5.73 5.48 5.65
Students respect students of different ethnic backgrounds. 5.45 5.61 5.24 5.47
Students make negative remarks about women. (R) n/a 5.74 n/a 5.97
Instructors make negative remarks about women. (R) n/a 6.05 n/a 6.08
         
Note. (R) means that the statement was reverse scored so that higher numbers are more positive. Higher values for all items idicate greater agreement (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree).

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Mentoring

Majors and non-majors were equally unlikely to report having a mentor. Of 213 majors, only 18.78% reported having a mentor; of the 114 non-majors 21.93% reported having a mentor. Of the 89 female students in our sample, 28.09% reported having a mentor, whereas only 14.19% of the 148 male students did. This gender difference was statistically significant, χ2(1, N = 237) = 6.87, p = .008. (Note that we do not have gender data for 96 students.)

Only 2 science majors in our sample reported having used MentorNet (see table below). Moreover, majors and non-majors were equally unlikely to be familiar with MentorNet (Ms = 1.52 and 1.43, respectively, on a scale of 1-7).

Number of Students Reporting Mentors in Each Relationship Category
     
Relationship Majors Non-Majors
  (n = 215) (n = 118)
Someone on campus 27 12
Someone in science department 24 1
Course instructor/faculty member 20 8
Friend 17 13
Upperclass student 8 3
Family member 4 6
MentorNet 2 0
Other 10 5
     
Note. Respondents were asked to check all that applied.

Students who had mentors were generally satisfied as indicated by their responses to the questions below. The differences between majors and non-majors were not significant. There were also no differences in satisfaction as a function of student gender or ethnicity.

Satisfaction with Mentoring
       
  Majors Non-Majors Mentornet
  (n = 41) (n = 26) (n = 2)
To what extent do you . . .      
     talk to your mentor? 5.44 5.23 5.00
     receive helpful advice
     and information?
5.66 5.46 4.50
     think that other students
     would benfit from a mentor?
5.95 6.04 5.00

All students (whether they had mentors or not) were asked to indicate their agreement with the statements listed in the table below on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) scale. Again, majors and non-majors did not significantly differ in their responses. Interestingly, however, female students were more likely than male students to have had mentoring experiences at UNO – a difference that was independent of major versus non-major, F(1, 322) = 7.13, p = .008. In addition, ethnic minority students expressed significantly greater interest in having a mentor (M = 4.66) than did white students (M = 4.01), F(1, 322) = 7.27, p = .007.

Mean Responses to Mentoring Statements
     
  Majors Non-Majors
I have had mentoring experiences at UNO. 3.46 3.43
Adequate mentoring is vital to my education and career goals. 4.27 4.39
There is someone at UNO who would be willing to be my mentor. 4.32 4.08
Upper-class students make good mentors. 4.47 4.26
In the future, I would like to have a mentor. 4.20 4.17

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Seeking Help from Professors

Students were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed (7) or disagreed (1) with each of the statements listed in the table below. Once again, students were generally quite positive. The only significant difference between majors and non-majors was in responses to the first statement, F(1, 321) = 8.18, p < .01. Although both majors and non-majors strongly agreed that talking to a professor individually would be valuable, majors reported that they had greater opportunity to do so. Of course, students who had more (vs. fewer) credit hours also reported having a greater opportunity to talk to a professor individually, F(1, 320) = 8.24, p = .005. But the difference for majors versus non-majors does not appear to be entirely due to the difference in the number of credit hours earned. No ethnic group differences emerged and only one gender difference emerged. Female students more strongly agreed that outside help had helped them do better in their classes (#5) than did male students, F(1, 320) = 5.24, p = .02.

Mean Responses to Help-Seeking Items by Major and Non-major
       
    Majors Non-Majors
1. I have had the opportunity to talk to a professor on an individual basis. 6.11 5.65
2. Talking to a professor individually would be a valuable experience. 6.15 6.03
3. Discussing my career interestes with a professor would benefit me in the long run. 5.86 5.71
4. I often receive informal information from professors, which helps me perform better as a student. 4.96 4.63
5. Ouside help has helped me do better in my classes. 4.82 4.68

The types of people who helped students with their school work outside of class are reported in the table below. The "other" category included the internet (n = 5), co-workers (n = 4), and past instructors/instructors of other courses (n = 3).

Number of Students Reporting Help from Various Types of Helpers
     
Type of helper Majors Non-Majors
  (n = 215) (n = 118)
Another Student 27 12
Course instructor 24 1
Friend or family member 20 8
Upperclass student 17 13
Other 8 3
     
Note. Respondents were asked to check all that applied.

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Research Experiences

Only 12.92% of majors (n = 27) and 8.85% of non-majors (n = 10) indicated that they had worked with an individual faculty member to conduct research at UNO. Of the majors for whom we had gender data, female students (23.33% of the 60 female students) were significantly more likely than male students (9.91% of the 111 male students) to have had research experience, χ2(1, N = 171) = 5.62, p = .018. Of the 27 majors who had research experience, 8 were ethnic minority students and 17 were white.

Students who had indicated that they had had research experience were asked to complete 12 additional items, which are listed at the top of the following page. Again, students were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each statement, using a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Analyses of each item separately revealed no significant differences between majors and non-majors, all ps > .12.

Note the remarkably positive ratings of the extent to which students judged their research experience as increasing their knowledge (#1), considered research experience to be an important part of their education (#5), and had a desire to do more research (#7). Thus, the number of students who have had research experience is not high, but their ratings indicate that they perceive it as very beneficial.

Mean Agreement with Research Experience Statements
       
    Majors Non-Majors
1. Research increased my knowledge of my major. 6.29 5.83
2. My research experience seemed disconnected from my studies. 2.60 2.75
3. Doing research will improve my chances of being accepted into a professional program. 5.70 5.83
4. I was asked to do research by a faculty member. 4.97 5.50
5. Research is an important part of my education. 6.10 5.92
6. Research increased my interest in my major. 5.93 5.75
7. I would like to do more research. 6.10 5.83
8. Research took too much time and effort. 3.70 3.17
9. It is hard to find research opportunities. 3.77 3.33
10. Research should be required of all students in my major. 5.17 4.25
11. I could confidently explain the research I did. 5.87 5.42
12. Other students encouraged me to do research. 3.90 3.42

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Evaluators

Carey S. Ryan (Associate Professor of Psychology)
Jason Gerlt (Graduate Student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and STEP RA)
Koichi Kurebayashi (Graduate Student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology)
Kelvin Van Manen (Graduate Student in Social Psychology)
Anne Marie Robbins (Undergraduate Psychology major)
Rebecca Shively (Undergraduate Psychology major)

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Second Annual Report
February 26, 2007

 

Respondents  Social Climate  Early Undergraduate Research   Mentoring   Evaluators


UNO and MCC STEPping Together
2006 Survey Results

This report describes the results of a survey of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and non-STEM majors’ perceptions of the social climate in their majors and at UNO. The survey was conducted during the spring 2006 semester. We asked all students who were majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, or physics and a sample of non-STEM majors to complete an on-line questionnaire concerning their perceptions of UNO in general and their majors more specifically. Students were asked about their mentoring experiences, their research experiences, as well as their perceptions of the social climate. A total of 390 STEM majors (47% female) and 88 non-STEM majors (60% female) representing 22 disciplines completed questionnaires. Nearly 10% of STEM and 10% of non-STEM majors were members of ethnic minority groups other than Asian.

Overall, students’ perceptions were quite positive. However, the results also suggested some areas that could be targeted for improvement, for example, helping non-white male students feel more “at home” in STEM majors (and helping white male students feel more “at home” in non-STEM majors) and promoting respect for ethnic groups and women among students. More specifically, the results indicated that:

  • Students judged the social climate in their particular majors more positively than the social climate at UNO in general.
  • Both STEM majors and non-STEM majors rated their interactions with the professors in their majors more positively than their interactions with UNO professors overall.
  • Students felt like they belonged in their majors more than at UNO in general; however, this difference was greater for non-STEM than for STEM majors.
  • Students did not feel isolated at UNO or in their majors. Interestingly, white male STEM majors felt less isolated in their majors than at UNO, whereas ethnic minority and female STEM majors felt more isolated in their majors than at UNO; the opposite was true of non-STEM majors.
  • Students perceived respect for ethnic groups and women to be higher in their majors than at UNO more generally. Respect for ethnic groups and women was also perceived to be higher among faculty than among students—a difference that is consistent with the results of the 2005 survey.
  • The perception that faculty were more respectful than students was greater among minority than white students and, to some extent, among female more than male students.
  • Ethnic minority students were well represented among early undergraduate research participants. Indeed, ethnic minority students were proportionally overrepresented.
  • Students perceived their early undergraduate research experiences to be extremely positive. There were no ethnic group or gender differences in these perceptions. Students reported that they had worked most closely with faculty from whom they also believed that they had learned the most.
  • STEM and non STEM-majors were equally likely to have mentors. About one-fifth of students indicated that they had a mentor. Mentors were most often faculty. Asian STEM majors were more likely to have mentors than were other ethnic minority and white STEM majors. Overall, non-STEM majors rated their mentoring experiences more positively than did STEM majors. Mentor ratings did not differ as a function of ethnicity or gender.

The remainder of this report provides more detailed information about the students who responded to the questionnaire, the types of questions that were asked, and the results of our analyses.


Respondents

A total of 478 students completed on-line questionnaires; 390 students were majoring in STEM areas, including bioinformatics (n = 11), biology (n = 142), biotechnology (n = 52), chemistry (n = 16), computer science (n = 109), environmental studies (n = 21), geology (n = 3), math (n = 23), and physics (n = 13). The remaining 88 were non-STEM majors representing 22 disciplines. Forty-seven percent of STEM majors and 60% of non-STEM majors were female. The percentages of respondents by ethnicity and major are shown in the following table. Approximately 10% of respondents identified themselves as members of ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the sciences (i.e., ethnic groups other than Asian/Pacific Islander and White).

Text Box: Percentage of Respondents by Ethnicity and STEM vs. Non-STEM Major    	STEM	Non-STEM	Total  White	80.69	85.71	81.60  Asian/Pacific Islander	5.29	2.38	4.76  Black	5.82	7.14	6.06  Native American	---	---	---  Latino	3.44	2.38	3.25  Unknown	4.50	1.19	3.90	  Total	100.00	100.00	100.00

In addition, 21% (82 STEM, 17 non-STEM) were first-year students, 15% (55 STEM, 18 non-STEM) were sophomores, 29% (110 STEM, 29 non-STEM) were juniors, and 35% (143 STEM, 24 non-STEM) were seniors. STEM majors had earned significantly more credit hours than had non-STEM majors, F(1, 428) = 3.59, p = .05.

Social Climate  

STEM majors and non-STEM majors judged UNO in general and their majors more specifically with respect to a set of items (listed on the following page) that assess social climate. We averaged across items within four potentially distinct areas: interactions with professors, feelings of belonging and/or identification, feelings of isolation or disconnectedness, and respect for ethnic and gender differences. The mean responses to individual items and averages across items in each of the four areas are reported in the table on the following page. We analyzed these measures as a function of target (whether judgments were of UNO generally or students’ majors) and whether respondents were STEM majors or not. We also explored ethnic group and gender differences. Overall, students judged the social climate in their particular majors more positively than the social climate at UNO in general. More specifically,

  • Both STEM majors and non-STEM majors rated their interactions with the professors in their majors more positively than their interactions with UNO professors overall, F(1, 464) = 10.37, p = .001.
    Students felt like they belonged in their majors more than at UNO in general, F(1, 463) = 68.36, p < .0001. However, this difference was greater for non-STEM than for STEM majors, F(1, 463) = 7.09, p = .008.
    Students generally did not feel isolated at UNO or in their majors more specifically. However, non-STEM majors felt somewhat more isolated at UNO than in their majors as compared with STEM majors whose judgments of isolation did not differ. Additional analyses indicated that
    • Among non-STEM majors, white male students felt more isolated in their majors than at UNO, whereas ethnic minority and female students felt more isolated at UNO than in their majors; in contrast, among STEM majors white males felt less isolated in their majors than at UNO more generally and ethnic minority and female students felt more isolated in their majors than at UNO more generally, F(1, 428) = 3.57, p = .06
    Students rated respect for ethnic differences and women significantly higher in their majors than at UNO more generally, F(1, 463) = 44.90, p < .001. Additional analyses of the diversity items indicated that:
    • respect for ethnic groups and women was perceived to be greater among faculty than among other students, F(1, 428) = 57.49, p < .001, especially in judgments of UNO more generally (vs. students’ majors), F(1, 428) = 19.83, p < .001.

      whites judged respect for ethnic groups and women to be greater than did ethnic minority students, F(1, 428) = 4.66, p = .03.
    • the perception that faculty were more respectful than students was greater among minority than white students, F(1, 428) = 7.95, p = .005.
    • the perception that faculty were more respectful than students, especially at UNO in general as opposed to students’ majors, was greater among female respondents, F(1, 428) = 4.01, p = .046, and to some extent among ethnic minority students, F(1, 428) = 2.86, p = .09.

 

Text Box: Mean Responses to Items Assessing Social Climate    	STEM Majors	Non-STEM Majors  	At UNO	In Major	At UNO	In Major  Interactions with professors	5.38	5.48	5.46	5.67  Professors treat students with respect.	5.65 	5.74	5.81	5.97  Professors often treat students unfairly. (R)	5.44	5.57	5.80	5.75  The professors care about students.	5.32	5.51	5.40	5.82  I feel comfortable approaching my professors for help.	5.40	5.50	5.70	5.68  I often feel intimidated by my professors. (R)	5.18	5.10	4.99	5.13  Belonging/identification	5.05	5.38	5.01	5.66  The atmosphere is friendly.	5.22	5.44	5.09	5.80  I feel like I belong.	5.03	5.50	4.98	5.83  I feel involved in what is happening.	3.61	4.01	3.36	4.01  I am generally satisfied with my experiences.	5.42	5.39	5.54	5.66  Identify with UNO/my major.		5.43	5.79	5.38	5.90  Overall, I like UNO/my department.		5.67	5.67	5.66	6.11  Isolation	2.86	2.86	3.09	2.84	  I feel somewhat out of place in my classes.	2.84	2.69	2.96	2.55  I feel disconnected from other students.	3.40	3.23	3.65	3.09  I often feel intimidated by other students in my classes. 	2.35	2.63	2.74	3.01  Respect for ethnicity/gender	5.80	6.02	5.89	6.26  Faculty respect students of different ethnic backgrounds.	5.92	5.93	6.03	6.13  Students respect students of different ethnic backgrounds.	5.36	5.80	5.49	5.99  Students make negative remarks about women. (R)	5.74	6.03	5.84	6.40  Instructors make negative remarks about women. (R)	6.19	6.35	6.26	6.56      Note. (R) means that the statement was reverse scored so that higher numbers are more positive. Higher values for all items indicate greater agreement (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree).



Early Undergraduate Research

A total of 40 students (14 female, 26 male) who completed questionnaires were supported by Early Undergraduate Research (EUR) grants. Most were white (60%); however, 37.5% were ethnic minority students other than Asian—a large proportion given that the number of ethnic minority STEM students is relatively low. EUR students were asked to complete additional items, which are listed in the following table. Students responded to each item on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strong agree). The mean responses (see following table) indicate that students perceived their experiences to be extremely positive. These judgments did not differ as a function of ethnicity or gender. Given how well received these experiences were, faculty may want to recruit students for these experiences (see response to #10 below), increase the number of opportunities, and increase student awareness of their availability.Text Box: Mean Agreement with Research Experience Statements    1.	Doing research has increased my knowledge of my major.	6.10  2. 	Doing research is an important part of my education.	6.28  3. 	Doing research has increased my interest in my major.	6.10  4. 	Research should be required of all students in my major.	5.79	  5. 	My research experience helped me better understand what   	it would be like to be a scientist.	6.16    6. 	My research experience was challenging. 	5.70  7. 	Overall, my research experience was very positive.	6.65  8. 	My research experience seemed disconnected from my studies.	2.27  9. 	Doing research will improve my chances of being accepted 	5.73     	into a professional program.	  10. 	I was asked to do research by a faculty member.	3.54  11. 	I would like to do more research.	6.24  12. 	Doing research took too much time and effort.	2.30  13. 	It is hard to find research opportunities.	3.92  14. 	Other students encouraged me to do research.	3.42  15. 	I understood the research I did.	5.97  16. 	I could explain to others the research I did. 	6.11

Students were also asked to indicate how closely they worked with and how much they learned from working with faculty, graduate students, other undergraduate students, as well as others whom students were asked to specify. Responses were provided on 7-point scales (1 = Not at all/Nothing at all and 7 = Very closely/A great deal). The mean responses are reported in the following table. Students reported working closest with faculty from whom they also believed they learned the most (female students’ latter judgments were higher than were males’). A small percentage reported having worked with others; such experiences seemed to be more variable in quality.

Text Box: Mean Ratings of Research Experience with Faculty, Graduate Students, and Undergraduates    	How closely did you work with…  		…faculty?	6.35  		…graduate students?	4.67  		…undergraduate students?	5.81  	  	How much did you learn working with…  		…faculty?	6.62  		…graduate students?	4.64  		…undergraduate students?	4.92

Mentoring

Twenty-one percent of STEM majors (n = 81) and 22% of non-STEM majors (n = 19) reported having a mentor. Asian STEM majors were more likely to have mentors than were other ethnic minority and white STEM majors, c 2 (1, N = 359) = 5.46, p = .02. As the table below indicates, faculty were most often identified as mentors by both STEM and non-STEM majors.Text Box: Percentages of STEM and Non-STEM Majors  Reporting Mentors in Each Relationship Category    	Relationship 	STEM Majors	Non-STEM Majors  	  	Faculty	57	63	  	Upperclass student	9	5	  	Friend/Family member	25	26	  	Other	20	16    Note. Respondents were asked to check all that applied. Thus, the numbers in each column sum to values greater than 100.

Respondents who had mentors indicated their agreement with each of the statements listed below on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) scale. Overall, non-STEM majors rated mentoring more positively than did STEM majors, F(1, 91) = 6.10, p < .02. Mentor ratings did not differ as a function of ethnicity or gender.

Text Box: Mean Responses to Mentoring Statements  	STEM	Non-STEM  	Majors	Majors  Adequate mentoring is vital to my education and career goals.	5.72	6.18  Mentoring is not helping me achieve my educational goals.	2.56	2.29  I will achieve my educational goals whether or not I have a mentor.	5.19	5.00  My mentor has provided me with specific strategies for achieving		    my educational goals.	5.21	6.00  My mentor has given me valuable feedback on my course work.	5.08	6.18  My mentor has recommended courses to help me prepare for my career.	5.12	6.24  My attitudes toward my major are similar to my mentor’s.	5.09	5.88  I aspire to be like my mentor.	5.30	5.65  I try to emulate the strategies my mentor uses to complete tasks.	5.21	5.53

 Evaluators

Carey S. Ryan (Associate Professor of Psychology)
Jason Gerlt (Graduate Student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and STEP RA)
Koichi Kurebayashi (Graduate Student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology)
Anne Marie Robbins (B.A., Psychology, UNO )
Rebecca Shively (Graduate Student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology)
Kelvin Van Manen (Graduate Student in Social Psychology)Return to top of page