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Biology | Higher Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning | Science and Mathematics Education


We used quantitative methods to better understand the perceptions of students in an introductory biology course (Biology 101) at a small, liberal arts college (SLAC) that is also a primarily white institution (PWI). In pre/post surveys, we asked students questions related to their attitudes and beliefs about their professor, classmates, and Biology 101. We were especially interested in the responses and outcomes of underrepresented minorities (URM) and first-generation (FG) students. Our findings suggest URM and FG students have a decreased sense of belonging and increased perceptions of exclusion and differential treatment due to race. These findings can explain, in part, the disparity in Biology 101 grade and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) attrition.