Equity Theme Sessions

Lily Khadjavi, Dept. of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University; Sissi Li, Dept. of Chemistry at California State University at Fullerton; and Darryl Yong Dept. of Mathematics and Director of the Claremont Colleges Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvey Mudd College, have organized the various sessions related to equity in STEM education. Information about these leaders can be found on the Equity Theme Organizers webpage.

Morning Workshop- Selecting, Defending, and Inventing Inclusive Teaching Interventions
Colleen Lewis, Computer Science, Harvey Mudd

As educators, we want to create equitable and inclusive classrooms where all of our students are successful. There are laundry lists of things we can do to achieve these goals and rarely time to put them all into practice. Anyone can find these lists laundry lists online, but likely only with the help of our peers can we select and customize these strategies for our context.

In this workshop, you will:

  • learn from each other by brainstorming creative solutions to common challenges in creating equitable and inclusive classrooms,
  • sort through more than 100 tips for inclusive classrooms to identify actionable and impactful tips for your context, and
  • practice addressing common resistance to (or misunderstandings of) inclusive practices so that you can motivate and educate your colleagues.
  • Come ready to problem solve, critique, discuss, and only very rarely listen to the workshop presenter.

Contributed Paper Session

Developing learner Identity in the science classroom community
Sissi Li, Physics, Cal State University Fullerton

Science teachers teach more than science content. Implicitly and explicitly, teachers model what doing science means and how to be a member of science communities in each discipline. As teachers, we show that real world connection is important by asking students to make sense of real physical situations. From the student side, they learn the norms and expectations in the discipline and the extent to which they can influence the community. By being a part of a science classroom community, teachers and students contribute to the students' science learner identity development. This talk will highlight research findings about some of the ways of each member of the community contributes to identity development.

Leading by Example: Creating Inclusive Classrooms
Erin-Kate Escobar (Center for Diversity) and Jennifer Weaver (Center for Teaching, Learning, & Outreach), Caltech

During this session we will offer you tangible classroom practices for inclusivity that are easy and quick to implement. We will touch on the important concepts of stereotype threat, unconscious bias, prior knowledge, social identities and classroom climate. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  1. Define, understand, and mitigate the presence of stereotype threat and unconscious bias in the classroom; and
  2. Identify positive changes that you can make to your syllabus, student interactions and classroom climate that will demonstrate your appreciation of what every student has to contribute.

Harnessing the Power of Language Diversity in Mathematics Classrooms
Bill Zahner, Mathematics, San Diego State University

How can we design equitable mathematics learning environments that build on students' linguistic resources and minimize unnecessary linguistic demand? While we may imagine that that mathematics is a universal language, mathematics classrooms – including undergraduate classrooms – are hotbeds of linguistic diversity. Many of our bilingual students are English Learners or were English Learners at some point in their educational careers. In this session we will identify principles for harnessing students' language diversity as an asset in STEM classrooms. We will then examine and discuss sample mathematics tasks to identify opportunities for redesigning the tasks with an eye toward broadening access and harnessing the power of your students' linguistic diversity.

STEM Microaggressions: Words and Actions that Demoralize and Discourage Students
Darryl Yong, Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College

What words and actions (unintentionally, perhaps) demoralize and discourage our students from learning in our classes? In this session, we will collectively generate some examples of these "STEM microaggressions" and think about how to avoid them in the classroom.

Inquiry, Equity, and the Algebra Project
Robin Wilson, Mathematics, Cal Poly Pomona

The Algebra Project has been using the method of teaching mathematics through inquiry as a strategy for improving math literacy in the lowest performing quartile of our nation's population since the 1980's. At the same time the Algebra Project's pedagogical approach is one that is intentional about creating equitable classroom spaces where all students have access to quality mathematics. In recent years, mathematics education researchers have increasingly focused on the process and outcomes of engaging students in mathematics through inquiry, finding evidence that inquiry can be an entry point for more equitable classroom experiences at the undergraduate level. I will share my own experiences with both the Algebra Project and teaching an inquiry based upper division mathematics course. I'll further offer my thoughts on why the Algebra Project and other inquiry-oriented math projects have come to similar conclusions about the benefits of inquiry-oriented pedagogy for enhancing equity in the mathematics classroom.

CAMPARE and Cal-Bridge: Two California Institutional Networks Increasing Diversity in Physics and Astronomy
Alex Rudolph, Physics and Astronomy, Cal Poly Pomona

We describe two programs, CAMPARE and Cal-Bridge, with the common mission of increasing participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in astronomy, through summer research opportunities, in the case of CAMPARE, scholarships in the case of Cal-Bridge, and significant mentoring in both programs, creating a national impact on their numbers successfully pursuing a PhD in the field.

In 7 years, the CAMPARE program has sent 80 students, >80% from underrepresented groups, to conduct summer research at one of 14 major research institutions throughout the country. The graduation rate among CAMPARE scholars is 98%, and of the CAMPARE scholars who have graduated with a Bachelor's degree, more than 60% have completed or are pursuing graduate education in astronomy or a related field, at institutions including UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Stanford, Univ. of Arizona, Univ. of Washington, and the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master's-to-PhD program.

Now entering its third year, the Cal-Bridge program is a CSU-UC Bridge program comprised of over 75 physics and astronomy faculty from 5 University of California (UC), 9 California State University (CSU), and 14 California Community College (CCC) campuses in Southern California. Cal-Bridge provides much deeper mentoring and professional development experiences over the last two years of undergraduate and first year of graduate school to students from this diverse network of higher education institutions. Cal-Bridge Scholars benefit from substantial financial support, intensive, joint mentoring by CSU and UC faculty, professional development workshops, and exposure to research opportunities at the participating UC campuses. Over 90% of the first two cohorts have been accepted into one or more PhD programs in physics, astronomy, or a related field.

Afternoon Working Group

Working groups in equity theme will be organized around two questions: (1) What does it look like to teach an equitable and inclusive class in our own field and how would we go about finding out if we are doing a good job at that or not? (2) How can our institutions collaborate regionally to broaden participation in STEM? Other questions of interest may surface during the day and there will be an opportunity for participants to choose which working group they want to join. The goal will be to allow participants with similar interests to share ideas, carry out research, strategize, and network with each other.

Questions? Email BreakingBoundaries@lmu.edu