AUGUST 31, 2020 — As a new semester starts for many college students around the U.S., a new national study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is identifying how the COVID-19 pandemic affected student learning and faculty work in in STEM fields.
The Challenges and Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a collaborative study between UTSA, University of Kansas and Claremont Graduate University, surveyed about 1,087 STEM faculty and 4,603 STEM students in June from around the U.S about the effects COVID-19 has had on their mentorships, research, academic careers and mental health.
The projects’ first report, released in July, which focused on fall enrollment and delayed graduation, found that nearly 10% of STEM students had not decided or would not enroll in fall 2020 due to the pandemic, while 35.5% of doctoral STEM students, 18% of master’s students and 7.6% of undergraduate students delayed their graduation.
Among the delayed graduations, there was a racial difference between Hispanic and Black students, Uriel Lomelí-Carrillo, a coauthor of the report and a doctoral student in UTSA’s Department of Demography, said.
“Almost 13% of Hispanic and 10.3% of Black students reported delaying their graduation, whereas only about 6% of Asians and whites did,” Lomelí-Carrillo said.
Additionally, Lomelí-Carrillo added that the research found two major personal factors—financial and health concerns—to be the reasons affecting fall enrollment and delayed graduation status.
“Almost 40% of students who will not enroll in fall 2020 were because they were uncertain of the financial support in the fall semester,” Lomelí-Carrillo said. “Many of them are basing it off their health as well as on whether they’re going to go back to the institutions. We also found that the majority of the students prefer an approach to have a mix of face-to-face and online instruction.”
For those who are delaying graduation, it’s due to restricted access to academic facilities and resources and delayed coursework or degree required projects, Lomelí-Carrillo said.
“The results obtained are being rapidly analyzed and presented because it is timely valuable information to inform students, faculty and leaders in STEM programs in particular and in higher education institutions in general,” Lomelí-Carrillo said. “We are confident that the evidence can help universities to target their resources to better support students and identify and address the main concerns of students.”
While the first report focused on enrollment and graduation, a second report highlighted the gender disparities in remote learning for STEM students and faculty.
“Considering that the fall semester has already started, it would be good to point out some of the challenges that faculty and students face in this shift to remote teaching and learning,” Lomelí-Carrillo said. “For instance, among STEM faculty, the top two challenges in adapting course design to remote learning were ‘personal preference is for in-person learning’ and ‘uncertain about online assessment.’”
Compared to their male counterparts, female faculty reported having more challenges with “having limited personal time to effectively adapt” and “course activities not translating well to online,” Lomelí-Carrillo said.
“Among STEM students, the top two learning challenges in transitioning to remote learning were ‘difficulty focusing on remote instruction/activities’ and ‘personal motivation to complete coursework’ and compared with their male peers, female students generally reported more learning challenges in transitioning to remote learning,” he said.
⇒ Learn more about The Challenges and Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Challenges and Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic study was conducted with support from a $153,899 Rapid Response Research grant from the NSF, using funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The researchers behind the project consisted of Lomelí-Carrillo, Guan Saw, a former UTSA assistant professor now at Claremont Graduate University, Chi-Ni Chang of the University of Kansas and Mingxia Zhi of Northside ISD.
The researchers plan to release a third report on the mentoring experience and a fourth report on mental health of students and faculty during COVID-19 pandemic.
UTSA invites you to participate in our community altar by RSVP to this event. You can also use this link to learn more about Día de Los Muertos:https://anendlessconnection.weebly.com/the-project.html.Student Union Window Lounge, Main Campus
UTSA students, faculty, and staff are invited to the Health Fair on Wednesday. Health and wellbeing information booths and health screenings will be available.HEB Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center will on campus Wednesday, October 27th from 10am - 3pm in the H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 for an additional day this month. Participants will receive a $10 gift card by email from hundreds of retailers and restaurants through your donor portal.HEB Student Union Ballroom I, 1.104, Main Campus
The second of two recitals featuring the tuba and euphonium students of Gary Poffenbarger and John Caputo. More details to come. The Fall 2021 concert schedule is subject to change. Please continue to monitor our website and social media for updates. This concert will be live-streamed via the UTSA Music Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/UTSAMusicUTSA Recital Hall, Main Campus
October 28th celebrates National Immigrants Day. On this day, we gather to explore the diverse heritage of our nation’s social fabric. We dedicate this day to understanding how our nation was founded and built by immigrants. Our goal is for the UTSA family to recognize and celebrate how all immigrants, regardless of their citizenship status, contribute to our community through their resiliency and ingenuity.Multicultural Student Lounge, HSU 2.207, Main Campus
The COLFA Advanced Career Pathways Workshops are focused on connecting your education with your career aspirations and exploring your pathways to reach your goal.Mesquite Room, Student Union, 2.01.24, Main Campus
The Westside Community Center will be creating an altar or "ofrenda" as many do within San Antonio and the Westside for "Dia de los Muertos." If you would like to participate, we invite you to send in a photo of a loved one that will be placed in this space. You are welcome to join us on October 28th at 3:00 pm to set up the space and come see us at the Westside Community Center.UTSA Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St., San Antonio, TX 78207
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
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