W11: Being Human in STEM at a Liberal Arts College
Presenter: Sheila Jaswal Institution: Amherst College Co Authors: Megan Lyster, Emma Ryan, & Ashley Bohan
Time: 3 Hours
Abstract: Presentation 1: How the Being Human in STEM course came about: Background and ideas and goals behind the class
Dr. Sheila Jaswal, Amherst College
Being Human in STEM is a collaboratively designed, project-oriented initiative that examines the theme of diversity within STEM fields at Amherst College and Yale University. The “Being Human in STEM” course model may be adapted and replicated to support institutional and departmental efforts toward inclusive pedagogies. The model is student directed and faculty/staff supported, allowing students to take ownership of both the process and products of their work, while faculty and staff help ground student voice in research and support the connection to broader college initiatives and priorities. Additionally, the model provides academic structure for ongoing conversation about the value and importance of student diversity on campus and in STEM disciplines. Finally, the presentation of course materials and findings to the broader campus community allows a wide array of students, faculty, and staff to understand how they fit in to the larger scheme of a diverse institution and gather resources to enhance learning in STEM for all. Ultimately, we hope to broaden institutional discourse about inclusive STEM education by sharing resources and tools, as well as inviting students, faculty, and staff to join and contribute to the Being Human in STEM initiative network. Each campus (Amherst and Yale) will present their strategy and attendees will be encouraged to provide input and/or discuss opportunities and challenges at their own institutions.
Being Human in STEM at a Liberal Arts College
Presentation 2: “Being Human in STEM” at Amherst College
Emma Ryan and Ashley Bohan, Amherst College
Takeaway material: Summary of research/interviews from semester 1, syllabus and facilitator guide for sample module
In the first iteration of the Being Human in STEM initiative, students collaboratively designed a course to ground their understanding of the STEM experience at Amherst in national and global contexts, specifically looking at the ways in which gender, class, race, sexuality, and geographic upbringing might shape individual experiences. Students read peer-reviewed articles, surveyed best practices at peer institutions, and interviewed a broad cross-section of over 40 Amherst College STEM students, faculty, staff and alumni. The course’s findings were presented to more than 75 students, staff and faculty in an interactive “Salon” with project presentation discussion tables, an inclusive pedagogy workshop, and a lively Q&A panel. They are publicly accessible through a website and were incorporated into a resource guide distributed at the Dean’s Retreat on Inclusive Pedagogies in May, 2017 attended by 120 faculty and staff members.
In the second semester, Being Human in STEM leveraged the research and analysis of the first semester to develop a framework for students and faculty to understand and navigate diverse identities in the classroom and beyond. The students collected, created, and tested tools and resources for fostering a more inclusive, supportive STEM community and shared them with faculty, staff, and students at Amherst College and at other institutions. The website (www.beinghumaninstem.com) continues to serve as the online “home” of the project.
Being Human in STEM at a Research University
Presentation 3: “Being Human in STEM” at Yale University (including presentation of survey and results)
Dr. Andrew Miranker & Joyce Guo, Yale University
Takeaway material: Syllabus with suggested reading material, modified survey for attendees to use at their institutions
Following a visit to Yale by students from the Amherst course in the spring of 2016, eight students and four faculty members — whose academic interests collectively span 12 different departments, implemented their own version of the Being Human in STEM course. Students participated in a workshop and wrote Op-Ed pieces about the unique perspectives and experiences of students with diverse identities in STEM fields. They designed and led a campus-wide “Diversity in STEM” climate survey that received nearly 800 student responses, which will be analyzed quantitatively and followed up with qualitative one-on-one interviews. The combined findings will be shared with the Yale STEM community to determine the issues and prioritize interventions to create a more inclusive environment for students of color and other underrepresented groups on campus. http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2016/12/09/class-examines-inclusivity-in-stem/