Study Finds That Black Freshmen in Science Fields Are More Likely to Earn Degrees in These Disciplines If They Had a Black Instructor

A new study from the Higher Education Research Institute at Cornell University finds that African-American college students who plan to pursue majors in mathematics or science are more likely to persist in these fields if they had a black instructor during their freshman year.

The study examined 157,000 freshman students at 13 four-year universities in Ohio who planned to major in science or mathematics. Those black students in these fields who had a black instructor were found to have a higher rate of persistence than black freshmen whose instructors were whites or other nonblacks. The research did not find a similar correlation for women who had a female instructor.