As we strive to create more inclusive learning environments, we may be faced with the challenge of not only understanding the language of anti-racist, decolonising and culturally responsive education, but wondering where to start. This is especially true in postsecondary STEM education where there are long-standing issues around diversity and representation. While there are webinars, workshops and other events aimed at understanding issues of diversity in STEM, what is often missing is the opportunity to dialogue with others in order to grapple with concepts around equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in STEM teaching and learning environments.
With this in mind, we are launching a 4-part Conversation Series entitled, “Transforming STEM teaching and learning.” This will give faculty, instructors, and TAs in the STEM and allied fields the opportunity to connect, talk and learn (talking is learning) about how we can authentically create spaces of belonging for all STEM learners. Reflections and discussions will be consolidated into concrete action plans for practice.
The meetings will be structured around shared readings and discussions with reflective tasks in between that allow us to learn more about ourselves, as STEM educators in relation to our STEM learners. The overarching questions that will guide our time together are:
- In what ways do power, privilege, oppression, social identity and intersectionality shape STEM teaching, learning and research in our classrooms and in the broader disciplines?
- How do our own social identities shape our experiences of power?
- In what ways can humanizing concepts such as compassion, humility and belonging foster transformation in STEM education practices?
- What are some ideas and actions we would enact that would foster equitable and socially just STEM education?
May 18th: Power and privilege in STEM education
Power and privilege are what shapes the need for EDI. Power and privilege contribute to the social stratifications of humans and perpetuate ongoing social inequities in STEM. During this session we will discuss the meanings of these terms and reflect on the ways that they show up in STEM teaching, learning and practices. We will also discuss how an understanding of the ways that power and privilege show up in STEM is important in equity practices and identify specific places for challenging existing power structures in our practice.
May 25th: Social Identity and STEM Education
Building on topics discussed in the earlier session around power and privilege, this second session will allow participants to delve into exploring their own social identities as STEM practitioners and how it influences their teaching and learning. We will discuss what it means to value the contributions and identities of diverse learners in STEM as a way of humanizing STEM education. Participants will then translate those discussions into a concrete action or strategy they could take.
June 1st: Redefining STEM education through equitable practices
This third session will emphasize translating our discussions and understandings into practice. We will examine some equity pedagogical frameworks and discuss how they apply to STEM teaching, learning and research contexts. We will generate ideas about antiracist approaches and discuss how to make syllabi, lessons and other teaching actions better align with equity and belonging in STEM.
June 8th: Actions towards transformative STEM education
This culminating session will consist of showcasing concrete actions for transforming STEM education. It will be a session centered on acknowledging and celebrating commitments to change. We will also discuss some ideas for individually and collectively sustaining and expanding equity practices in STEM education.
Facilitators: Dr. Jennifer Adams, PhD and Dr. Sarah El Halwany, PhD.