Oral Session III: Teaching for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Wednesday 1:15-2:30pm PT / 2:15-3:30pm MT / 3:15-4:30pm CT / 4:15-5:30pm ET Online

Session Chair

Kat Cantner, Minneapolis Community and Technical College


1:20 PT / 2:20 MT / 3:20 CT / 4:20 ET
Contributions From Earth Scientists of All Different Backgrounds
Dan Ferandez, Anne Arundel Community College
Katherine Keough, Anne Arundel Community College

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During the 2020 school year, members of the Earth Science faculty at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) participated in course design activities within the 'General Oceanography' course. The design activities were based on: AACC's commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; the AACC 'model course' initiative; and strategies from the 'Supporting & Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges' (SAGE 2YC) program.A team of Earth Science instructors designed an Oceanography course with the intent of incorporating best practices for teaching & learning, increasing quality of instruction, and providing a solid framework for instructors to work from.Based on a project through the SAGE 2YC program, an AACC cohort of five Earth Science instructors conducted, as a culminating project, a 3-part virtual workshop with focus on diversity, equity, & inclusion in the classroom during the Fall 2020 semester. A part of this series of workshops included the incorporation of "Earth Scientist Spotlights" within their Earth Science courses. "Earth Scientist Spotlights" assignments are meant to:- bring student awareness of the many Earth Scientists from different backgrounds, who have made scientific contributions in their respective fields, and - provide avenues for minority students to identify with those scientists sharing similar backgrounds and similar challenges. As a result of preparations through the SAGE 2YC program activities, experiences through the 3-part workshop, and lessons through the model course initiative, different variations of the Scientist Spotlights assignments were attempted during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. This presentation is meant to report on initial experiences, lessons learned, and also ask for any shared experiences and insights about the topic.
1:35 PT / 2:35 MT / 3:35 CT / 4:35 ET
Supporting Underrepresented STEM Scholars through the LSAMP STEM Scholars Program
Janet Stomberg, Red Rocks Community College
Barbra Sobhani, University of Colorado at Boulder

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The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) is a NSF-funded program that aims to support inclusion and diversity efforts in STEM, significantly increasing the numbers of underrepresented minoritized (URM) students enrolling in and successfully completing degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. LSAMP has been active at the four-year level since the early 1990's, helping over 500,000 minoritized scholars graduate with bachelor's degrees in STEM through establishing advising and academic support systems, research pipelines, and a network of STEM professionals dedicated to a more inclusive STEM community. The LSAMP programs at the Community College level across the United States are rather new, and working to build a sustainable model of advising, industry exposure, transfer assistance, community building, and experiential learning to support retention and transfer to a four-year institution while helping Scholars build their confidence, skill sets, and resumes along the way. In this presentation, a qualitive assessment is presented which includes survey data from current and past Scholars in the sciences across a variety of majors, and student narratives regarding their experiences, including support, barriers and challenges, and successes they have experienced in their community college careers. Methods for offering students STEM engagement opportunities are also discussed, and barriers and successes of Navigators also are shared in hopes of generating discussion of best practices among colleagues in the session.
1:50 PT / 2:50 MT / 3:50 CT / 4:50 ET
"Geology undergirds me": using art to deepen connection to geoscience
Andrew Jones, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ethan C. Parrish, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Naomi Barshi, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Colby Schwaderer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Following the COVID-19 transition to online learning in spring 2020, we teaching assistants designed place-based activities for students to artistically document their natural surroundings and connect them to geological knowledge.In one project for the 428-student geoscience course, students photographed physical features in their surroundings that they found beautiful, humbling, or noteworthy and related them to Earth system processes. We encouraged students to shift their focus to that which is often overlooked—like cracks in a sidewalk resulting from freeze-thaw processes—to demonstrate that geoscience is all around us, rather than only "in nature." The learning objectives were to show students that they are scientists capable of making valuable observations, and to connect their pre-existing attachments to place with geoscience. Following six weeks of in-person labs (pre-pandemic), students were consistently able to observe concepts from class in their environments.In lieu of a traditional final exam, students chose from a host of creative options (e.g., a comic, poem, TikTok) to answer open-ended prompts connecting geoscience to their lives, such as "What is the interconnection between artistic expression and science?" Each TA modeled the assignment, culminating in an original song (Jones) and music video (Parrish) that will be used in future lectures.Our broader-impact goals are 1) to increase scientific literacy by encouraging students to draw emotional connections between themselves and the curriculum, leading to long-term interest and greater depth of understanding; and 2) to challenge the notion that scientists are solely analytic, right-brained monoliths by incorporating art into geoscience curriculum. The sum of this approach is to invite new students into geoscience, thus diversifying the field. This project was facilitated by tadada Scientific Lab, an initiative to inspire scientific literacy and cultivate emotional connections to science (tadada.net).
2:05 PT / 3:05 MT / 4:05 CT / 5:05 ET
Toward creating a fully accessible, inclusive, and trauma sensitive learning environment in an online introductory geoscience course
Kat Cantner, Minneapolis Community and Technical College

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We've navigated the transition to an online environment. We've heard the call to arms for equity and diversity, for the decolonization of science, and for increasing accessibility. What do you tackle first? How do you objectively assess your own courses? This presentation provides a framework for course assessment and outlines numerous pathways toward a more equitable learning environment for all students. I will review the effect of trauma on learning and demonstrate methods for mitigating these effects through course website design. I will share examples of incorporating student experiences into coursework, place-based learning, supporting student communication pathways, and anti-oppression grading practices. We will explore the importance of increased scaffolding and multimodal content in online learning and discuss how backwards course design supports the creation of fully accessible course content. Lastly, I suggest methods for course assessment and paths forward through incremental change. These methods were developed in response to teaching two semesters of Physical Geology at Minneapolis Community and Technical College during the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The students include Black, Indigenous, LatinX, LGTBQIA+, first generation, and ESL students as well as students with no vision, auditory processing disorders, students experiencing mental health disorders, addiction, hospitalization, and the death of their friends and family members. Course assessment and redesign are ongoing as students continue to provide feedback and encouragement.