WashU Affiliated Authors: Sarah Elgon (Dept. of Biology), Christopher Shaffer (Dept. of Biology)
Abstract: Achieving equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) requires attracting and retaining college students from diverse backgrounds. Despite decades of calls for action, change has been slow. Recommendations have largely focused on members of underrepresented groups themselves (1) rather than on fixing the classrooms that drive many students out of STEM. Without removing such barriers, funding and programs directed toward underrepresented groups will not transform STEM. Instead, we must fix the classrooms where many students from historically excluded communities (HECs) are discouraged from pursuing STEM. Here, we outline areas that need change and identify steps that can be taken by instructors, academic leadership, and government agencies to drive change at scale (see the table). Research points to active learning practices, welcoming classrooms, and content that is relevant to members of HECs as especially worthy of attention. Such evidence-based classroom practices can benefit all STEM students regardless of their background.
Citation or DOI: JO HANDELSMAN, SARAH ELGIN, MICA ESTRADA, SHAN HAYS, TRACY JOHNSON, SARAH MILLER, VIDA MINGO, CHRISTOPHER SHAFFER, JASON WILLIAMS, SCIENCE, 2 Jun 2022, Vol 376, Issue 6597, pp. 1057-1059, DOI: 10.1126/science.abn9515