1st Edition

Being Human in STEM Partnering with Students to Shape Inclusive Practices and Communities

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    For all STEM faculty, chairs, administrators, and faculty developers who work to support students’ learning and thriving in STEM – especially those students who have felt unwelcome and unsupported in their past STEM experiences – this book offers sustainable strategies that are now being widely adopted to create inclusive environments in undergraduate STEM classes and programs. Further, this book presents a framework for partnering with students to collaboratively envision how STEM can be a space that fosters a sense of belonging for, and promotes the success of, all individuals in STEM. This book presents the Being Human in STEM Initiative, or HSTEM, as a model for challenging the assumptions we make, and how we communicate to students, about who belongs and who can thrive in STEM. This work arose out of a time of conflict at Amherst College: A four-day sit-in, protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and bringing attention to related experiences of exclusion and marginalization that minoritized students experienced on campus. What emerged from that conflict has been transformative for the college, its students, and for its faculty and staff. In this book, the authors share how the HSTEM course came into being, offer a course overview, readings, and resources for developing an HSTEM course at your own institution, provide recommendations for evaluating the multi-level impact of inclusive change initiatives, and profile models of how the HSTEM course has been adapted at colleges and universities across the country. In addition to providing a road map for developing your own HSTEM course, the authors articulate ways that you can make any course or institutional structure more inclusive through active listening and validation, and through reflective practice and partnership, to progressively make incremental and sustainable changes in STEM education. Through listening and reflecting, the model facilitates uncovering the disconnects that can impede inclusivity in our classrooms and laboratories. While the authors offer a proven process and model for change, originally motivated by the urgent need to respond to students’ demands, they recognize that larger institutional culture shifts require the identification and commitment to common values, a shared sense of purpose in the work of change, and the provision of agency and resources to individuals tasked with making change happen. How might we shift institutional STEM culture? The HSTEM model provides one solution: By reflecting on our own lived experiences and identities, engaging with the literature on the factors that enhance and limit full inclusion in STEM, and partnering with students to identify actionable ways to bring about sustainable change in our scientific communities, we can all work towards creating a more inclusive, and human, STEM ecosystem.Each chapter opens with a set of guiding reflective questions to help you connect these ideas, frameworks, and strategies to your own teaching and institutional context. While each chapter builds on the previous ideas and frameworks, the book can also be used as a resource to identify a just-in-time strategy to address particular questions you may have about making your teaching more inclusive. The appendices offer an array of Facilitator Guides, each of which outlines a student-endorsed exercise, based on the pedagogical literature, that can foster a sense of belonging and inclusion in your classrooms and laboratory spaces.

    List of Figures and Tables Preface Acknowledgments 1:The Amherst Uprising 2. The HSTEM Course 3. A Process for Partnership 4. Teaching with and for Empathy 5. Practices for Building Community in STEM Classrooms and Lab 6. Telling your HSTEM Story 7. Bringing About Change 8. Measuring the Impact of Inclusive Efforts 9. Growing the HSTEM Network. Adapting the HSTEM course across Institutions 10. Conclusions Appendices: Appendix A. HSTEM Readings and Student Reflections Organized by Module Appendix B. Facilitator Guide. Humanizing the Professor Appendix C. Facilitator Guide. Airplane Game Appendix D. Facilitator Guide. This I Believe Appendix E. Facilitator Guide. Discussing Class Expectations Appendix F. Facilitator Guide. Designing Success and How to Achieve It Appendix G. Facilitator Guide. Community Agreements Appendix H. Facilitator Guide. One Minute Paper Appendix I. Facilitator Guide. Utility Value Writing Appendix J. Facilitator Guide. Exam Wrappers Appendix K. Facilitator Guide. Mid-Semester Feedback Appendix L. Facilitator Guide. Scientist Trading Cards Appendix M. Facilitator Guide. Community Announcements Appendix N. Facilitator Guide. Group Work Reflections Appendix O. Facilitator Guide. Telling your HSTEM Story Author Biographies


    Sarah Bunnell has been actively involved in scholarship of teaching and learning research, and mentoring others in SoTL, since 2006. She has published multiple articles and chapters in SoTL including in the Journal of Faculty Development, International Journal for Students as Partners, Case Studies in the Environment, Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education, and the edited volume, Threshold Concepts in Problem-Based Learning. She recently completed a three-year Mellon Foundation-funded project examining the impact of interdisciplinary team teaching on student learning across the sciences and the arts/humanities. She served as President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2021-2022) and served in elected positions on the ISSOTL Board for 10 consecutive years prior to moving into the presidential position for the Society. As the Associate Director and STEM Specialist for the Amherst College Center for Teaching and Learning, her work focuses on providing faculty with the frameworks and support that they need to impact student learning and a sense of community in their classrooms and laboratories. Sarah received her B.A. degree in Neuroscience from Middlebury College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Kansas. Sheila received her B.A. in German and Biochemistry from Mills College, where her experiences in women-only classrooms and laboratories provided an opportunity to learn and lead in science settings in the absence of gender-based implicit bias and stereotype threat. While earning her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco, she co-led a middle school girls’ science club for a year through the NSF-supported “Triad Project” of the UCSF Science Education Partnership. Under the tutelage of Liesl Chatman, Kimberly Tanner and colleagues, she experienced the transformative power of experiential and active learning coupled with me

    “Being Human in STEM is a welcome addition to the field of higher education that addresses how to unveil the curtain in STEM fields and embrace diversity. The authors describe a course with clear learning outcomes that directly confronts humanity in STEM. They describe its successful implementation at multiple institutions. The course counters the narrative that inclusivity cannot be directly addressed in undergraduate STEM education. I encourage all who want to provide exceptional learning experiences for their STEM students to consider how this course could be offered at their institution. There is a place for Being Human in STEM at colleges and universities of all types from community colleges; historically Black colleges and universities; minority serving institutions; tribal colleges and universities; public universities, private universities; master’s colleges and universities; small, private liberal arts colleges, to K-12 schools. The course is relevant to any institution educating students in STEM disciplines.

    For those ready to explore an avenue for supporting diversity in STEM, the book provides a helpful roadmap for developing a Being Human in STEM course within any context. More than just the syllabus, the authors describe their experiences building the course and growing it into a community spanning several institutions, provide recommendations for implementation, give sample activities, assignments, and inclusive teaching approaches, and present feedback from students who completed the course. It’s all here.

    Perhaps this book interests you for a variety of reasons - being human in STEM is an intriguing concept, you want to learn more detail about the course, you are interested in how such a course could fit in with the existing curriculum at your institution. Whatever your reasons, I hope you’ll consider utilizing the precious content to make STEM education more inclusive at your college, university, or K-12 school. Now is the time to stop hiding our identities behind the curtain. We need to embrace our humanity in STEM.”

    from the Foreword by Tracie Marcella Addy, Lafayette College

    “Throughout my career, I have taken on many roles--a faculty member, faculty developer, and institutional leader—and I wish this book had been available to guide me. Many faculty want to work with their students to change STEM fields collaboratively, and the authors demonstrate a compelling, flexible model of how to achieve those goals. This resource sheds light on ways to enlist colleagues in an on-going, constructive institutional dialogue on difficult topics. Across higher education, we need to bring more folks into the HSTEM movement.”

    Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Professor of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke, and author of Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives

    “Faculty often ask me how they can make students feel like they really belong in STEM and excel in courses. After reading this book, the answer is crystal clear – allow them to bring their whole selves to the environment thereby eliminating the need to ignore any part of their humanity. This book is a treasure trove of information for making STEM (or any environment) more inclusive by partnering with students to make it happen.”

    Saundra Y. McGuire, Director Emerita, Center for Academic Success, former Assistant Vice Chancellor and Professor Emerita of Chemistry, Louisiana State University; author of Teach Students How to Learn, Stylus Publishing

    “This book chronicles a remarkable project that began with three sophomores planning a sit-in that ultimately transformed how their campus supports student belonging and understanding in STEM. Sarah Bunnell, Sheila Jaswal, and Megan Lyster share the compelling story and a wealth of guidance, inviting us to adapt what they learned within our own disciplinary and campus contexts. In the end, though, this book is so much more than course design: it’s a roadmap for what higher education should be in the 21st century."

    Nancy Chick, Director of the Endeavor Foundation Center for Faculty Development, Rollins College

    “By centering the voices and agency of students, this book offers a significant and new approach to making any – and every – course, program, and institution a more inclusive learning environment. Although the book’s four-step change process emerges from STEM disciplines at one college, the authors give us concrete advice about and vivid examples of how we can adapt that model across fields and contexts. This is a guide all of us in higher education can and should use to make our classrooms and campuses more humane and equitable.”

    Peter Felten, Professor of History and Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University