Report on Unlearning Racism in Geoscience from the 2YC URGE Pod

Wednesday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online


Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Kristie Bradford, The Lone Star College System
Hillary Goodner, Yakima Valley Community College
Karen Helgers, Ulster County Community College
Beth A. Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Megan Jones, North Hennepin Community College
Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft, Whatcom Community College
Karen Layou, J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College
Waverly Ray, San Diego Mesa College
Daina Hardisty, Mt. Hood Community College
Elizabeth Nagy, Pasadena City College

The five-month long virtual Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) program was developed to empower groups, or pods, of geoscience faculty to implement anti-racist strategies and policies within their departments and institutions. Our 2YC URGE pod included twelve individuals: eleven who are solo geologists on their two-year campus or members of very small two-year college departments, and the project manager for SAGE 2YC (Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges). We connected to explore antiracist learning activities, strategies, and policies that improve the environment for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) geoscientists in higher education. As the individuals in our pod came from collective institutions that do not have geoscience departments with the ability to make policies, our pod's focus was different from other pods, as we directed our attention to the introductory-level geoscience classroom, students in the first two years, and faculty. The pod applied the learning and discussion every two weeks and developed a resource document that includes both suggestions for faculty to apply in their own classrooms, and information to share with departmental and institutional administrators. For example, in the document's section focusing on students, topic areas range from impacting admissions to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) concepts in a syllabus, during the first day of class, and throughout the curriculum. The section that focuses on faculty and administration includes examples of: mentoring and advising strategies; institution DEI resolutions and statements; sample complaints and reporting policies; and, mitigating racial biases during the faculty hiring process. Although the URGE program has formally concluded, the 2YC URGE pod will continue to advance anti-racist strategies and policies, creating change within institutional structures and professional organizations, with intention, accountability, and inclusivity. The document will continue to develop and can be accessed at:

Supplemental video - Interview with Karen Layou and Laura Guertin about the URGE program, from Reynolds Community College

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