In March, UCLA’s Divisions of Life and Physical Sciences sponsored a two-day workshop/retreat to familiarize key faculty leaders with the best practices for educating a diverse population of students, including students from underrepresented and underserved groups in the sciences. This workshop was designed to provide an opportunity for faculty to develop the knowledge and skills required to attend to issues of inclusion in a STEM classroom. Dr. Barbara Love– Professor Emertus of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts and consultant in the area of multicultural education– met with participants before the retreat and facilitated activities during the workshop.
Key faculty participants, along with both Deans of Life and Physical Sciences, worked on developing strategies for matching teaching styles to a diversity of learning styles, and developing critical skills in curricular development, classroom culture assessment and management– in hopes of having a significant and lasting impact on the entire community.
Here are some participant responses:
This workshop did an excellent job of framing, and then exploring, several important challenges we face in supporting the success of STEM students of all backgrounds at UCLA. I gained concrete ideas about how to incorporate research-based educational techniques into my course designs and classroom activities, and I gained a deeper appreciation for complex issues like stereotype threat and microaggressions.
– Jamie Lloyd-Smith, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I learned many things, including that the stress due to various pressures not experienced by other groups, can lead to health risks for under-represented populations in science. I was also very impressed with the large number of UCLA faculty committed to increasing retention of underrepresented groups in STEM classes, and how many of these faculty were going to immediately implement changes in their teaching methods.
– Jerome Zack, Professor and Chair of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
This workshop helped me identify ways to better engage all students in the classroom, to encourage students to learn from one another, and to identify things I could change to help all students feel like they belong in science. I was very inspired by the experiences and shared suggestions of my colleagues. I also learned about the unique challenges faced by my students and colleagues who are members of under-represented groups here at UCLA.
– Cathy Clarke, Professor of Biochemistry