Journal of STEM Teacher Education


College students who have an autism spectrum condition study in STEM fields at a higher rate than their neurotypical peers, and they face documented challenges in postsecondary education. Given the proportionally higher representation of autism in STEM majors, it is important to study what works best, from an educational standpoint, for this diverse group of students. The purpose of this qualitative study is to document the experience and insight of college faculty about unique learner qualities related to autism and the qualities most needed in STEM fields. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 STEM faculty members about their experience teaching students on the spectrum, and thematic analysis was conducted to identify shared faculty perceptions. Faculty views converged on certain observable strengths, challenges, and general traits needed in their fields. The discussion summarizes findings and includes implications for teaching and postsecondary programming.