Tips for Creating Inclusive Learning Environments Fall 2020 edition
Fostering Inclusivity and Respect in Science Together HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative at Davidson College
Table of Contents
Notes and Acknowledgements
Addressing Justice and Equity in STEM
What a Professor Learned as a Student
Improving Student Group Experiences
Davidson Microaggressions Project
Microaggression Intervention Models
Becoming a More Antiracist and Multicultural Institution
Notes & Acknowledgements
FIRST, Fostering Inclusivity and Respect in Science Together, is an inclusive excellence project funded by HHMI that aims for Davidson College to build capacity to engage all students in the sciences by changing the way we do business, removing barriers, becoming more welcoming, and helping to make science and scientists more diverse, equitable, just, and inclusive. This booklet gathers information shared at fall 2020 FIRST events by briefly summarizing take-home messages and action items that are essential components of creating change to make more inclusive learning environments for all students in and beyond STEM. FIRST extends special thanks to fall 2020 event hosts Helen Cho, Anika Bratt, Alo Basu, Amanda Martinez, the Davidson Microaggressions Project, the FIRST Action Team, Esther Lherisson, Julia Bauer ‘23, Wren Healy ‘23, and to all who participated in FIRST events. Find more details on past and future FIRST events at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/events/
For more information on FIRST: Website: first.inclusivepedagogy.org Twitter: @FIRST_Davidson Instagram: first_Davidson Facebook: FIRSTDavidson
Examining Race: The Nonexistence of Biological Race from a 09.25.20 FIRST event by Dr. Helen Cho slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/092520
Debunking the dangerous myth of a scientific basis for race: • There are no natural divisions of the human species. The division of humans based on genes or phenotypes is not scientifically valid. • Biological race was invented and codified by scientists and intellectuals in Western Europe and the U.S. • Biological determinism has been used inappropriately to associate specific races with specific behaviors. • Baseless hierarchal assignments of race have been invented and misused to justify economic and political inequities.
Race is a social construct: • Races are social categories that produce real social outcomes and inequities. • The realities of race are salient for how persons of color navigate society. • The concept of race denies the existence of biological race.
Addressing Justice and Equity in STEM Courses from a 10.05.20 FIRST event by Dr. Anika Bratt slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/100520
Be antiracist in your classroom: • Gain comfort talking about race, gender, ability, etc. • Acknowledge that some ways of knowing have been privileged over others, particularly in STEM. • Highlight underrepresented people through selected examples, books, articles, topics, etc. • Develop experience discussing race and other topics with family, friends, colleagues, etc. in preparation for classroom conversations.
Learn the (real) history of your field: • Knowledge generation and production are inherently political (knowledge = power and power = political). • Acknowledge that scientific knowledge has been built using colonization (stolen ideas, hidden figures, unacknowledged labor, etc.). • Understand social/historical contexts influencing scientists and scientific landmarks in class content.
Include your students: • Create reflection opportunities for students to consider how their identity influences them as scientists, their research, interpretations, etc. • Deemphasize instructor’s authority; allow students to lead by selecting topics, suggesting news items, etc.
What a Professor Learned by Being a Student Again from a 10.14.20 FIRST event by Dr. Alo Basu slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/101420/
Lessons Learned: • Curriculum mapping identifies skillsets and standards. • Foundational concepts may be presented differently across disciplines. Coordinate across department to help students create common understandings. • Exam performance involves many elements unrelated to conceptual understanding such as anxiety, physical seating, translating, reading speed, writing skills, etc.
Recommendations: • Reduce exam stress with few exams and/or lower stakes assessments. Ensure students are not taking more than one exam per day. • Counteract deficit thinking by providing resources for students who may not remember or have never learned the prerequisite content, identifying deficit thinking, and fostering anti-deficit mindsets. • Reduce disciplinary boundaries that are policed to create identities for students within departments. • Believe in inclusivity and excellence, which are not mutually exclusive.
Improving Student Groupwork Experiences from a 11.10.20 FIRST event by the FIRST Action Team slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/111020
Improving group dynamics: • Group students intentionally to work with at least one classmate who shares one or more identities. • Partner students with others in their class year to reduce the chances of more senior students taking over and/or more junior students acquiescing.
Improving accountability within groups: • Create assignments in which groups develop contracts and/or expectations early in their collaboration process. • Use logs to document participation and task distribution. • Encourage students to edit each other’s work. • Clarify components that are graded individually versus collectively. • Ask students to comment on teammate contributions to the group’s efforts/product.
Improving communication: • Encourage teams to use GroupMe, Slack, etc. • Provide multiple pathways for communication. • Provide ongoing anonymous feedback forms.
DMP: The Davidson Microaggressions Project from a 11.24.20 FIRST event by the DMP slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/112420/
Microintervention Strategies: Make the ”invisible” visible: • Name and make metacommunication explicit. • Challenge the stereotype. • Broaden the ascribed trait. • Ask for clarification.
Disarm the microaggression: • Express disagreement. • State values and set limits.
Educate the offender: • Differentiate between intent and impact. • Center commonality and empathy. • Point out how the offender can benefit.
When you recognize you have committed a microaggression: Own up to your microaggression. Acknowledge the impact on others and apologize. Stop there. Do not center yourself by overexplaining. When someone points out your microaggression: Appreciate the feedback. Specifically acknowledge what is problematic in your words/actions and steps you will take to improve. Recognize your power. Lead by example.
DMP: Microaggression Intervention Models from a 11.24.20 FIRST event by the DMP slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/112420/
ACTION Microaggression Intervention Model:
(from Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom: Taking
ACTION by Tasha Souza, 2018)
• Ask clarifying questions and paraphrase comments to gain a better understanding of intentions. • Come from curiosity, not judgment. • Tell what you observed as problematic in a factual way. • Impact exploration: discuss the potential impact of the initial statement on others present. • Own your thoughts and feelings around the impact. Self disclose using “I” statements, etc. • Next steps: request appropriate action such as further education on the issue and its harm, refraining from such comments or language going forward, etc.
Six-step Microaggression Intervention Model:
(from Interrupting Microaggressions by Greta Kenny, 2014)
• Inquire. Ask participants to elaborate to acquire more information. • Reflect. Paraphrase or mirror what was said. • Reframe. Create a different way to view the situation. • Redirect. Shift the focus. Open the conversation to others. • Revisit. When an opportunity was missed, revisit and address the microaggression later. • Check in. Connect with targets and perpetrators privately outside of the situation.
Becoming a More Antiracist and Multicultural Institution from a 12.02.21 FIRST event by Esther Lherisson slides at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/120220/ More than 74 Davidson staff and faculty members provided suggestions that were collated and organized by FIRST into suggested action items below (raw data available at the event website).
Improving Classroom Policies and Structures: • Make every major accessible to every student interested in the subject. • Require each department to establish anti-racist outcomes and practices. • Revise syllabi so BIPOC and other marginalized voices are better represented. • Explicitly address racism and other forms of structural exclusion in courses. • Revise grading practices that harm students with marginalized identities by adopting inclusive practices (ungrading, specifications grading, etc.) • Help students navigate important and potentially divisive conversations; provide deliberation training. • Acknowledge Native American land ownership and presence.
Becoming a More Antiracist & Multicultural Institution (continued) Empowering an Equity Office: • Hire a full-time chief diversity officer (CDO) with an office to support and coordinate campus initiatives toward equity, diversity, inclusivity, and justice. • Review all proposed new and updated campus policies for equity. • Review CDO’s role in hiring, retaining, & promotion. • Support inclusion councils and equity advising that extend to staff members.
Improving Selection and Training Practices: • Expand equity advising programs to hire more representative staff and faculty members. • Broaden selection and promotion processes to favor leaders and scholars from non-dominant groups. • Provide ongoing DEI training as an expected (not voluntary) component of employment for all. • Build antiracist and multicultural standards into faculty review and promotion expectations. • Develop stronger mentoring programs for faculty members including mentorship training. • Expand target of opportunity hiring as a tool for diversifying Davidson’s faculty.
Anonymous Grading from a 12.14.20 event by Julia Bauer ’23 & Wren Healy ’23
slides/recording at: first.inclusivepedagogy.org/event/121420/
Implementing anonymous grading: • Students feel anonymous grading assesses them more equitably and with less implicit bias (unconscious attitudes, reactions, stereotypes, and categories that affect behavior and understanding). • Students report anonymous grading reduces halo effects (grader’s perceptions of a student’s prior work influencing evaluation of current/future work). • Students experience grades as more accurate reflections of their work when they are aware anonymous grading strategies have been employed. • Anonymous grading is most efficient to implement for exams and homework in which responses are submitted in a similar format at a specific time. (Anonymous grading can be more challenging for handwritten work or formats that expect topic approval, prior drafts, consultations, etc.).
Anonymous grading resources: • Davidson Anonymous Grading Initiative brochure tinyurl.com/agibrochure • Davidson Microaggressions Project podcast episode tinyurl.com/DMPpodcast • Davidson Moodle logistics for anonymous grading tinyurl.com/anonmoodle • Anonymous grading recommendations tinyurl.com/ypgrading
Fostering Inclusivity and Respect in Science Together HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative at Davidson College
Fostering Inclusivity and Respect in Science Together (FIRST) aims for Davidson College to build our inclusive capacity to engage all students in science, especially those who are new majority students or come to college via non-traditional pathways. We aim to change the way we do business, we aspire to remove barriers, to be more welcoming, and to help make science and scientists more diverse.
1. Transform faculty understandings of critical factors that foster STEM success for all students regardless of background and implementing inclusive pedagogies throughout STEM, including digital pedagogies. 2. Reduce institutional barriers to STEM success by concretely addressing specific campus policies, practices, and structures that exhibit racist beliefs and/or limit inclusivity and learning.
For more information on FIRST: Website: Twitter: Instagram: Facebook:
first.inclusivepedagogy.org @FIRST_Davidson first_Davidson FIRSTDavidson