Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2019


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions are said to drive the American economy, provide access to the middle class for underrepresented minorities, and bolster national security. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, American STEM educators have been under pressure to improve STEM educational outcomes. In order to respond to these pressures, education policy makers must understand the relationship between institutional characteristics and STEM outcomes. In this study, I articulate three specific national STEM agendas, and then I explore the relationship between these agendas and the institutional characteristics of America’s four-year colleges and universities.

Utilizing data from the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), I operationalized three dependent variables and 108 independent variables, and studied the relationship between each combination of independent and dependent variables. The purpose of my exploratory research was to determine which types of four-year colleges and universities are most likely to produce higher proportions of: (1) STEM graduates, (2) traditionally underrepresented STEM graduates, and (3) high-demand STEM graduates.

Through my research, I concluded that there are indeed distinct differences in institutional characteristics relative to the three national agendas, and that these differences appear to be related to institutional size, socioeconomic status of students, institutional wealth, ACT/SAT math scores, student academic achievement, institutional STEM mission, institutional research mission, sector, and diversity of students and faculty.


STEM degree IPEDS college university characteristics

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Allison Borden

Second Committee Member

Viola Florez

Third Committee Member

Eliseo Torres

Fourth Committee Member

Meriah Heredia-Griego