June 6, 2011
Forbes magazine has named St. Mary’s University 15th in the nation and first in Texas for helping women succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Forbes’ Best Schools for Women listed institutions that are graduating women and minorities with STEM degrees at similar rates to their overall student populations. The magazine evaluated all 400 schools included in its annual American’s Best Colleges list, eliminating schools with very small STEM populations or where men obtained STEM degrees at low rates. Forbes then ranked the remaining schools based on how closely their STEM classrooms look like the school’s overall population. For example, a school with 60 percent female and 40 percent male student population would have STEM classrooms that basically mirrored that breakdown. Data for the lists was collected from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Post–Secondary Education Database (IPEDS).
St. Mary’s was listed 15th nationally for graduating women with STEM degrees and was the only school in Texas included on that list of 20. Two Texas schools were included on the list of 20 Best Schools for Minorities in STEM, with Texas Tech 7th and Texas A&M 14th.
“The global community is facing monumental challenges in areas as diverse as energy, healthcare, environmental issues, and information security. Universities such as St. Mary’s where all STEM disciplines are housed under a single roof are well positioned to play a significant role in addressing the challenges that we face today, as well as the ones that we will have to address in the future,” said Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Science Engineering and Technology. “This recognition acknowledges the emphasis that St. Mary’s places upon the inclusion of not only women but all minority groups and celebrates the significant contributions they continue to make in the areas of science and technology.” Erevelles noted that the priorities for the school include continued emphasis on an environment of academic excellence for all students while increasing diversity in STEM majors, particularly through outreach with the region’s youth to attract more students into STEM careers.
Forbes noted that almost all majors with the highest starting and mid–career salaries are STEM degrees. Yet many colleges and universities do not graduate women in STEM majors at the same rate as their overall population of women students. The American Colleges of Education found that although 57 percent of all college students are women, they are only 45 percent of college math majors, 20 percent of computer science majors, and 20 percent of engineering majors.