ACC Emerging Findings
“Social science fields have been labeled a “soft” science, they are not “real” science, despite the fact that we conduct highly empirical and valid experiments and studies” (political scientist)
“Through enculturation, society, including students at Cal Poly, think that majors of math and science have more value, despite the truth that all majors are needed within society.” (english major)
Historically underrepresented minority students report feeling left out and alone in classrooms and labs and are assigned menial tasks in project groups. These underrepresented students report both subtle and overt hostility from some of peers of dominant groups, which contrasts with reports from said groups that their fields are an “even playing field,” where race does not matter and everyone has a fair chance to succeed.
“I’m from the Bay Area which has so much diversity. Here [Cal Poly] it is so shockingly white...I grew up in a totally different culture than most here...My roommates aren’t like me. They gang up on me because I can’t connect with them.” (underrepresented minority engineer)
“He stated in his interview that, in his [business classes], he is confronted with questions like: “What sport do you play?” and “Why do you sound so much like Obama?” (female sociologist)
Women at Cal Poly face both institutional and interpersonal sexism. Women students in male dominated fields like engineering report feeling intimidated and presumed incompetent. Some male peers refuse to collaborate with their female peers, leading women students to feel isolated and unwelcome. Female faculty report being left out of professional networks, targeted by microaggressions (for example, being interrupted often) and held to higher standards than their male peers.
"Gender has impacted their experience in the field of engineering as the women students feel like they can’t brag or advertise their success. They feel the need to be quiet in class and not announce their achievements out of fear of being perceived as arrogant. They felt it was not “cool” to be smart and wanted to be liked by the class." (female engineer)
"Women in engineering are not treated as equals to their male colleagues. I observed multiple times that in class men would flock around the women solely to socialize with them. Guys could hold an engineering related discussion with another guy, but while talking to girls it frequently turned into a guy attempting to impress her with his experience or knowledge." (male engineer)
1. Flexibility with majors in regards to both declaration and switching
2. Cross-major collaborations between both students and faculty. Have events to showcase what different majors and clubs do, in order to encourage Cal Poly community members to learn more about each other, foster new collaborations and inspire interest in other fields.
3. Redistribution of funds, salaries and resources across colleges, with 360 transparency of allocation.