University of Notre Dame, IN


Students arriving at colleges without STEM AP (Advanced Placement) credit have been systematically disadvantaged in their pursuit of engineering degrees. We made curricular changes to offer more flexibility, remove choke point courses (i.e., failure of those courses would delay graduation), and establish multiple pathways to complete degree requirements.  We also ask faculty members to pay special attention to students' varying level of academic preparation, enacted policy changes to allow for more students pursuing minors, reducing required credits for degrees, and establish an undergraduate curricular committee to provide oversight of all degree programs to address accountability concerns. STEM AP is a double-edged sword, and it has inadvertently disadvantaged students from certain ethnic groups, and COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation.  Without properly addressing the issue, it may affect the upward mobility of certain groups of students, furthering economic and social divide.