In the third in a series of reports linking college completion with U.S. workforce needs, the nonprofit organization Excelencia in Education has included UC Santa Barbara on its lists of the top 25 colleges and universities in the country in the number of degrees awarded to Latinos in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The report, published in July, covers the 2009-10 academic year.
Based in Washington, D.C., Excelencia in Education is a national organization that aims to accelerate higher education success for Latino students through promoting education policies and institutional practices that support their academic development.
The rankings are categorized by area of study as well as by degree conferred, and each list includes the top 25 colleges and universities. In the category of bachelor degrees awarded in mathematics, UCSB placed 10th. In master's degrees in mathematics, UCSB was ranked number 9; and in doctoral degrees in mathematics, UCSB again came in at number 10.
In the category of bachelor degrees awarded in the physical sciences, UCSB was ranked number 11; and in doctoral degrees in the physical sciences, UCSB placed 19th.
"As a public university, UCSB remains committed to increasing college-going rates among underrepresented students, low-income students, and those who would be the first in their families to attend college," said Mario Castellanos, director of the campus's Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. "In partnership with K-12 schools, community colleges and regional nonprofit organizations across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, UCSB implements effective academic preparation programs including STEM outreach programs that have been recognized as models for supporting minority students' college and career goals."
University and regional partners are working to strengthen educational pathways for Latinos and other underrepresented students and to promote interest in STEM careers, Castellanos noted. One example is an annual STEM EXPO co-hosted each fall by UCSB and Oxnard College. The event is part of a five-year Hispanic Serving Institution STEM Grant awarded this year to Oxnard College and UCSB. "As before, this year's STEM EXPO links educational institutions, mentors, and industry partners as allies in promoting STEM opportunities –– highlighting cutting edge research and local STEM leaders' successes," Castellanos said.