Recommended Readings

On this page, you’ll find an annotated list of important resources you might find helpful for your own reading or to share with your students. Some readings are located in multiple sections, and some entries have a link to their main location. If you would like to suggest the inclusion of additional resources, please use our Contact form, linked below.

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Evaluation and Feedback

Facilitation and Dialogue

Identity and Power

Inclusive Classrooms

Social Change

STEM Education


Evaluation and Feedback

This section highlights research on equitably handling evaluation and feedback, especially for writing assignments. The studies provide guidance on managing implicit biases and/or the impacts of stereotypes to better support the academic growth of students of color.

Biernat, M., & Danaher, K. (2012). Interpreting and reacting to feedback in stereotype-relevant performance domains. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 271 – 276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.08.010

This quantitative study examines how individuals interpret or translate subjective feedback about performance and whether the social groups we belong to effect this translation. This study is motivated by research that suggests that the objective meanings of judgements in feedback differ depending on who is being described in these judgements. For example, feedback like “great job” or “not bad” can be understood differently by the person receiving the feedback depending on the identities of who is being evaluated. The first study examined the impact of gender on translation of feedback. In this study, after receiving negative feedback on a leadership task, women translated this feedback to indicate a worse objective performance than did men. Women in the study also assumed they were held to lower standards than men. The second study examined the impact of race on translation of feedback. In this study, after receiving negative feedback on a writing assignment, black students translated the feedback more negatively than white students and were less motivated to engage in writing. This research helps in understanding how varying power dynamics across difference, especially with people who hold marginalized/stereotyped identities, can impact reception of negative feedback

Keywords: stereotypes, gender, race, evaluation, feedback, hierarchical relationships

 

Cohen, G., Steele, C., & Ross, L. (1999). The Mentor’s Dilemma: Providing Critical Feedback Across the Racial Divide. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(10), 1302–1318. Retrieved from https://www.lib.umich.edu/articles/details/FETCH-LOGICAL-g1641-43ca51ce1e96caf3600bee0dec535fcba43437345d7fc0400ae04a83e12304033

This quantitative study demonstrates the effectiveness of what the authors call  “wise” criticism with students of color. Wise criticism is explained as feedback that invokes high standards accompanied by assurance that students are capable of meeting these standards. More specifically, wise criticism provides critical, detailed feedback alongside expressions of faith in students’ intellectual potential. The authors explain the importance of wise criticism as students of color may attribute negative feedback to racial bias. Furthermore, students of color may struggle with stereotype threat, which is a fear of confirming negative stereotypes of their racial identity. In their study, when black students were provided with wise criticism, student ratings of bias among evaluators were lower, students expressed more task motivation to make needed revisions, and to a lesser extent, expressed greater identification with writing skills. This article provides helpful, concrete examples of wise criticism for evaluators’ and instructors’ use. Moreover, this study unpacks different types of feedback in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of wise criticism in promoting the development and success of students of color.

Keywords: evaluation, mentoring, students of color, feedback, stereotypes, writing

 

Croft, A., & Schmader, T. (2012). The Feedback Withholding Bias: Minority students do not receive critical feedback from evaluators concerned about appearing racist. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(5), 1139–1144. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.04.010

This quantitative study tested white, Canadian undergraduate students for “feedback withholding bias” through their evaluation of fictitious Aboriginal and black student essays. The authors explain that feedback withholding bias is when evaluators refrain from addressing errors due to concerns about appearing prejudiced. Importantly, feedback withholding bias can deny students of color the critical feedback needed to learn and advance academically. In this study, researchers asked participants to read and evaluate a representative sample of high school student essays and provide feedback. Essays were accompanied by a profile sheet that contained the student’s ethnicity. Once completed, researchers calculated the feedback withholding bias through the difference in negative feedback given to white students versus Aboriginal and black students, respectively. When comparing feedback given to Aboriginal students, researchers found that that no overall biases were observed. However, they noted that evaluators who tended to regulate their biases due to external pressures were more likely to give a higher grade to an essay written by an Aboriginal student and withhold more negative feedback. Researchers determined participants regulation of biases through a pre-test conducted prior to the evaluation exercise. When comparing feedback given to black students, researchers found evidence of an overall feedback withholding bias where black students were given significantly less negative feedback. Here, again, evaluators motivated by external pressures to conform to non-biased behaviors were most likely to demonstrate feedback withholding bias. The researchers assert that evaluators who hold an internal motivation for egalitarian goals are typically more equitable and judicious in their feedback. They warn that evaluators concerned with self-impressionistic worries of appearing biased can limit the development of students of color academically.

Note: While this research brings up important considerations for white evaluators and their evaluation of students of color’s writing, there is no consideration of evaluators of color and how they may provide feedback to students of color and/or white students.

Keywords: feedback, evaluation, writing, students of color, white teachers

 

Harber, K., Stafford, R., & Kennedy, K. (2010). The positive feedback bias as a response to self-image threat. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49(1), 207–218. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466609X473956

This quantitative study examines the impacts of white evaluators’ self-image on positive feedback bias. Positive feedback bias is when overly-favorable feedback is given to students of color and/or students with marginalized identities due to an evaluator’s fear of appearing biased or unfair. Through coding and quantifying white teacher trainees’ feedback given to black and white students, this study found that the joint effect of a writer’s race and evaluator’s self-image significantly impacted an (?) evaluator’s content ratings of writing. Content ratings address the ideas, beliefs, and reasoning within writing. Notably, in this study, evaluators whose egalitarian self-image was threatened or unsure, provided more favorable content ratings to students of color, advised students of color to spend less hours developing their writing skills, and utilized buffering comments of praise at a higher rate. Researchers determined evaluators’ egalitarian self-image through a pre-test conducted before the evaluation exercise. This study shows that when white evaluators are more concerned about their own self-image needs, it can cause a positive bias on their feedback and comments given to students of color which can deprive students of color of the rigorous feedback needed to improve their work.

Keywords: evaluation, feedback, self-image, writing, students of color, white teachers

 

Ruscher, J., Wallace, D., Walker, K., & Bell, L. (2010). Constructive feedback in cross-race interactions. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 13(5), 603–619. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430210364629

This quantitative study examines whether the promotion of high accountability standards for evaluators can reduce positive feedback bias in cross-race evaluation interactions. Positive feedback bias is explained as overly-favorable feedback due to evaluators’ fear of appearing biased. Additionally, this study explains high accountability standards as feedback that addresses higher-level features of writing like organization, theme development, and expansion. Paying attention to positive feedback bias is important because without meaningful feedback from evaluators, students of color may not receive the support needed to improve academically. To test the impacts of high accountability standards this study conducted two experiments. In the first experiment, white undergraduate students were given a poorly written essay to evaluate. Through the name and email provided with the essay, students were prompted to believe that the essayist was either black or white. Additionally, a group of students were prompted to reach high accountability standards through indication that their evaluation would be judged against the performance of experts. As anticipated by the researchers, high accountability standards corrected for positive feedback bias in evaluation of essays where the student was presented as black. However, the evaluators still did not provide optimally helpful feedback on higher-level features of writing to black students. To test if fears of appearing prejudiced impacted the type of feedback given to black students, the researchers conducted a second experiment where they manipulated the degree to which white evaluators felt concerned about prejudice by providing participants with fictitious scores on an implicit bias test. In this experiment, white evaluators who were prompted to believe they held low-prejudice both undercut positive feedback bias and focused on higher-level features of writing in their feedback to black students. This study demonstrates that effective feedback in cross-race settings can be facilitated through accountability for providing quality feedback, while mitigating white evaluators’ concerns about appearing prejudiced.

Keywords: evaluation, feedback, writing, students of color, white teachers, implicit bias

 

Yeager, D. S., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., Brzustoski, P., Master, A., … Cohen, G. L. (2013). Breaking the Cycle of Mistrust: Wise Interventions to Provide Critical Feedback Across the Racial Divide. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(2), 804–824. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033906

In this quantitative study, researchers conducted three double-blind randomized field experiments to test the wise method of feedback as a tool to foster black adolescents’ trust during feedback interactions. Originating from research conducted by Geoffrey Cohen and Claude Steele, the wise method of feedback provides rigorous feedback while emphasizing that students are capable of meeting high academic standards. In the first study, students wrote an essay and then received critical feedback from the teacher on the first draft of the essay. Researchers then accompanied teacher feedback with a randomly assigned note, one of which utilized the wise feedback method. Results showed that minority students’ motivation increased when students were provided with wise feedback. Additionally, in all studies, students were given a pre and post survey to assess if school was fair for them and for members of their racial group. The first study showed that wise feedback worked to slow the previously observed decline in trust of school among adolescent minority students. In the second study, students participated in the same process as study one, but were required to turn in a second draft of their essay. Study two shows that black students who received wise feedback were more likely to make the changes suggested by teachers and write better revisions. Lastly, in study three, students were asked to watch videos of diverse students explaining that teacher criticism reflects a belief in student’s potential to meet a high standard. Participants were then asked to read a heavily edited essay and imagine they personally had written it and received the criticism. Indeed, students who read essays with wise feedback were more likely to assert that the teacher had high and fair standards, while students who read essays without the wise feedback method neither agreed nor disagreed that the teacher held high standards. Furthering studies one and two, the intervention given in study three shows that students who are led to connect critical feedback with high standards are more likely to trust teacher feedback and alter academic behaviors.  

Keywords: evaluation, student trust, students of color, feedback, writing, white teachers

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Facilitation and Dialogue

This section highlights helpful practices, concepts, and ground rules for engaging in dialogue about identity, diversity, and social justice.

Arao, B., & Clemens, K. (2013). From Safe Places to Brave Spaces : A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice. In The Art of Effective Facilitation (1st ed., pp. 135–150). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/012438120

This practitioner-oriented article advocates for the creation of “brave spaces” versus “safe spaces” when facilitating social dialogues. Traditionally, the term safe space has been used to indicate a judgement-free environment where ideas can be shared. The idea for safe space gained popularity in the social justice field in hopes of facilitating learning through difficult conversations (i.e., addressing issues directly instead of tripping over semantics and remaining politically correct). The impetus for the shift from safe spaces to brave space refers particularly to the word safe which implies that no risk or harm should occur in dialogues on social justice. However, in reality, productive dialogue about social justice often requires vulnerability, discomfort, and bravery. Importantly, brave spaces encourage and prepare participants to be challenged on the topics of power, privilege and oppression. This article provides a helpful starting place for facilitators concerned about navigating and mediating ground rules in difficult dialogues.

Note: In this article, sex and gender are often conflated, seen as the same and thus used interchangeably. It is incorrect to conflate sex and gender.

Keywords: discussion, facilitation, inclusive, identity, social justice, residential training, privilege, oppression, power

 

Brown University. (n.d.). Facilitating Effective Group Discussions: Tips. Retrieved from https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/sheridan-center/teaching-learning/effective-classroom-practices/discussions-seminars/facilitating

Drawing from social justice literature, this resource provides practical tips for facilitating group discussions. These tips aid in (1) creating an inclusive environment, (2) keeping discussions constructive and positive, (3) encouraging participants, and (4) averting potential problems in discussions. In creating an inclusive environment, discussion tips aid facilitators through self-reflection questions and do’s and don’ts for language use and student treatment. In keeping discussions constructive and positive, discussion tips provide helpful ground rules for participants’ engagement and how facilitators may best support participants in meeting these standards. For example, one discussion tip suggests facilitators “request that if participants challenge others’ ideas, they back it up with evidence, appropriate experiences, and/or appropriate logic.” For encouraging participants, discussion tips offer basic pedagogical tools like writing comments on the board or asking participants to further clarify their comments, among others. Additionally, discussion tips encourage the facilitators to be okay with discomfort, silences, or admitting their own lack of knowledge in conversations. Lastly, this resource offers discussion tips on managing conflict between participants and/or the facilitator. This section also shares tips on facilitating participants who do not talk, who talk too much, and participants who offer unclear or hesitant comments. This resource is a quick read with helpful tips for effective facilitation and dialogue.

Keywords: facilitation, dialogue, inclusive

 

Edwards, K. E. (n.d.). The Trouble with Ground Rules and Safe Space [Blog]. Retrieved from http://www.keithedwards.com/2013/02/12/the-trouble-with-ground-rules-and-safe-space/

In this short blog post, Keith Edwards shares insights he has learned that trouble the concepts of ground rules and safe space in dialogue on identity and social justice. First, he explains that ground rules can reinforce the dominant culture’s way of dealing with conflict. As ground rules for a discussion often require consensus building, the dominant group’s ways of dealing with conflict often prevail. Importantly, this can promote and preserve privilege during a discussion that seeks to work against this very thing. Secondly, Edwards promotes Clemens and Arao’s concept of “brave space.” As opposed to a “safe space”, a term commonly used in dialogues on identity and social justice, the concept of brave space acknowledges the necessary discomfort and vulnerability needed to have authentic conversation about identity and social justice. Edwards cautions that promoting a safe space can allow privileged students to shrink from discomfort and/or interrogation of the dominant culture.

Keywords: ground rules, safe space, brave space, facilitation, dialogue

 

Singleton, G. E. (2006). Agreeing to Talk About Race. In Courageous Conversations about Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools (pp. 53–67). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/005616866

This practitioner oriented book chapter in Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools, outlines four agreements that can help educators authentically engage in dialogue on race and racism. Attentive to the different experiences of both people of color and white individuals, these agreements attempt to facilitate both attaining knowledge on race and racism and engaging in effective interracial dialogue. The four agreements include (1) staying engaged, (2) experiencing discomfort, (3) speaking your truth, and (4) accepting and expecting non-closure. Staying engaged involves remaining morally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially involved in dialogue despite discomforts. Experiencing discomfort asks participants to agree to deal with the reality of race in a vulnerable, honest, and forthright way. Similarly, speaking your truth encourages participants to be honest about their thoughts, feelings, and opinions and avoid just saying what you perceive others want to hear. Lastly, expecting and accepting non-closure alerts participants that they will not reach closure in their racial understandings and/or in interracial interactions. Instead, participants must commit to ongoing dialogue.  Overall, the four agreements presented in Courageous Conversations work to encourage the persistence of educators and educational institutions in building racial consciousness.

Keywords: race, dialogue, facilitation

 

University of Missouri, I., Diversity &. Equity. (n.d.-a). The Language of Identity: Using inclusive terminology at Mizzou. Retrieved from https://diversity.missouri.edu/education/handouts/inclusive-language.pdf

Paying attention to the impact of language, this resource provides short definitions of select words, terms, and policies that can aid in promoting inclusivity in diverse spaces. Specifically, definitions assist with better understanding ability status, faith and religion, gender and sexuality, socio-economic status, safety issues, and race, ethnicity, and national origin. This resource is helpful in beginning to learn about inclusive language and concepts.

Keywords: language, inclusive, dialogue

 

University of Missouri, I., Diversity &. Equity. (n.d.-b). Tips for Talking about Race. Retrieved from https://diversity.missouri.edu/education/handouts/talk-about-race.pdf

This resource provides tips and examples for engaging in productive conversations about race. Discussion tips help participants and facilitators think through needed reflection before engaging in conversations. For example, discussion tips encourage participants to understand the purpose of the conversation and acknowledge any fears and concerns individuals may have about participating. Additionally, when actually engaging in conversations, discussion tips advise participants to be mindful of assumptions about others and of attributing guilt or blame which can negatively impact interaction. Lastly, active listening, inclusive language, and openness to different viewpoints and experiences are offered as approaches that aid in effective dialogue about race.

Note: This resource does not consider the particular discomforts and traumas that can occur for students with marginalized racial identities in such conversations. There is little attention to power and how it impacts dialogue about race.

Keywords: dialogue, race, facilitation, inclusive

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Identity and Power

This section explores how different identities shape societal power dynamics. The works in this section provide important perspectives on race/ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion, privilege, and culture.

Alsultany, E. (2014). Los Intersticios: Recasting Moving Selves. In P. Rothenberg (Ed.), Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study (Ninth, pp. 365–366). New York: Macmillan. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/005050987/

In this personal narrative, Evelyn Alsultany reflects on experiences of being othered and forced into ethnic categories that do not represent the fullness of her multiple identities. “Othered” or “othering” is a term many sociologists use to speak about the experiences of minorities or underrepresented groups in a society. Individuals or groups that are “othered” are often viewed as less valuable than the majority group/society because of identity differences. Alsultany recounts a range of daily life experiences from sitting in a graduate school classroom to buying a bagel. In these experiences individuals whom she interacts with attempt to define and limit her multiracial identity. As a Muslim American woman of Iraqi and Cuban descent, Alsultany questions the rigid racial categories that keep individuals and groups separate. She explains that multiracial identities transgress constructed racial categories and become threatening to some. Alsultany uses Gloria Anzaldua’s concept of los intersticios (the spaces) which explains the multiple forms of alienation women of color experience in social life. Women of color are caught within the spaces between the different social worlds they inhabit. Alsultany asserts that identity must be reconceptualized to embrace the experiences of all human beings across multiple contexts.

Keywords: multiracial, race, ethnicity, identity, otherness, Women of Color (WOC)

 

Avicolli, T. (2014). He Defies You Still: The Memoirs of a Sissy. Radical Teacher, 100(100), 88–91. https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2014.162

In this personal narrative, Tommi Avicolli shares personal stories from his childhood both before and after he realized he was gay. Avicolli recounts experiences at his Catholic high school, providing details of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Importantly, Avicolli’s experiences also offer examples of missed opportunities when peers, friends, family, staff and clergy could have intervened on his behalf, but did not. Avicolli’s narrative brings up important considerations of the role of bystanders to discrimination and bias and how this perpetuates continued traumas and social exclusion. One is considered a bystander when they observe a harmful event or instance, but do not help due to indifference, fear, and/or lack of knowledge. Avicolli concludes his narrative on a positive note, describing a setting where his younger self is able to express his full identity with pride.   

Note: The author uses gay and queer interchangeably; however, not everyone views these terms as interchangeable. Also, this narrative contains homophobic language and slurs, which may be triggering for some readers.

Keywords: LGBTQ, sexuality, identity, discrimination

 

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2010). The Central Frames of Color-Blind Racism. In Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (3rd ed., pp. 25–51). Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/007545827

In this book chapter, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva illustrates how white people use four central frames of color-blind racism. These four frames demonstrate how white people maintain privilege and domination in contemporary society. The four identified frames are: (1) abstract liberalism, (2) naturalization, (3) cultural racism, and (4) minimization of racism. These four frames demonstrate how white people maintain privilege and domination in contemporary society. Color-blind racism explains the covert and institutionalized ways in which racism operates in our post-Civil Rights era. It is now less accepted to overtly express racist views and beliefs. Color-blind racism operates in a subtle and coded nature to maintain the current racial order. In the case of abstract liberalism, which is most commonly used to undergird color-blind racism, individuals promote ideas associated with free choice, equal opportunity, merit, and individualism to explain racial matters. For example, when asked to explain neighborhood segregation, whites maintain the importance of individual choice and that integration should not be enforced by governmental policy. In the case of Naturalization, this frame allows whites to explain away racial phenomena by suggesting they are naturally occurring. In other words, it is natural for individuals within a certain racial group to prefer one another over individuals within another racial group. In the case of cultural racism, this frame is characterized by the use of stereotypes to explain the standing of minorities in society. Arguing that minorities are lazy or hold misplaced values are commonly used to blame minorities for racial inequity. Lastly, minimization of racism asserts that discrimination is no longer a central factor affecting minorities’ life chances. Importantly, all of Bonilla’s identified frames rest on white people’s refusal to recognize the enduring impacts of historical oppression and current-day structural racism.

Keywords: race, color-blind racism, whiteness, discrimination

 

Chollar, R. (2013 6–17). 10 Physical and Emotional Health Concerns of LGBTQ Students. Retrieved from https://www.campuspride.org/resources/10-physical-and-emotional-health-concerns-of-lgbt-students/

This brief article identifies emotional and physical health concerns of LGBTQ students on college campuses. Speaking particularly to counselors and other health care providers, the 10 concerns stress the importance of comfort, inclusivity, and confidentiality in health care spaces. Additionally, concerns call attention to the experiences, and in some cases, trauma, of coming out, discrimination, navigating gender norms, internalized oppression, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Lastly, this resource also provides information on physical health concerns related to sexually transmitted infections and drug and alcohol use. Overall, concerns offered in this article provide a helpful overview of important issues and considerations for promoting the health and well-being of LGBTQ students.

Keywords: LGBTQ, counseling, health and well-being

 

Deegan, P. (2010). Recovering Our Sense of Value After Being Labeled Mentally Ill. In M. Adams, W. Blumenfeld, R. Castañeda, H. Hackman, M. Peters, & X. Zúñiga (Eds.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (2nd ed., pp. 359–363). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/007532492

In this autobiographical work, Patricia Deegan writes to her 17-year old self who is struggling with a diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia. Deegan recounts feelings of loneliness, anger, and being stripped of her humanity. In the face of despair, Deegan encourages her young self to embrace anger and indignation as a pathway to reclaim dignity amid a world that seeks to define her solely through mental illness. Deegan emphasizes the she is in constant recovery, which requires holistic self-care and learning to see breakdowns in her mental health as breaking out of fear and finding new ways of trusting herself and others. Deegan’s reflections seek to debunk societal beliefs that mental illness excludes individuals from living a whole and healthy life. Instead, Deegan advocates that empowerment and recovery from living with a mental disability can mean finding collective voice, pride, and power to challenge and change the stigmas and injustices attached to disability.

Keywords: disability, mental health, recovery, inclusive, empowerment, discrimination, stereotypes

 

Duan, C. (2014 2). Michigan in Color: Our Sacrifice, Our Shame. The Michigan Daily. Retrieved from https://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/michigan-color-american-plus-chinese

In this student newspaper article, Carlina Duan shares her personal experiences and encounters with cultural difference, race, language, and daughterhood as a young Chinese-American woman. Duan recounts early childhood experiences of cultural difference and racism while growing up in predominately white settings. She explains how these harmful experiences created a sense of shame in her cultural identity and her first language of Mandarin. She intertwines her struggles with her relationship with her immigrant mother who sought a fulfilling life for her children in the U.S., yet lacked proficiency in English and knowledge of U.S. culture. Duan reflects how she took advantage of her mother’s lack of cultural proficiency, seeking to find a sense of authority at home that was denied in her school settings. Addressing her present-day context as a student at the University of Michigan, Duan debunks the “model minority” myth which often positions Asians as innately high achieving. She concludes by recognizing and honoring her mother’s strength and intelligence as the reason she has achieved success in the face of obstacles. Duan’s work presents a beautifully written narrative that uncovers the complexities of racial and cultural inequality in educational and home settings.

Keywords: language, immigration, model minority myth, race, cultural differences, Women of Color (WOC)

 

El Sawy, N. (2001). Yes, I follow Islam, but I’m not a terrorist. Newsweek, 138(16), 12. Retrieved from https://www.lib.umich.edu/articles/details/FETCH-proquest_miscellaneous_2142991543

In this Newsweek article, Nada El Sawy critiques the lack of understanding of Islam in the U.S. This article encourages readers to learn more about the Muslim faith, highlighting how misconceptions and ignorance deny Muslims of their full humanity in U.S. society. As an Egyptian-American and a Muslim, El Sawy explains that in our Post-9/11 society, Islam is often conflated with terrorism. He notes that Islam has been misrepresented and misunderstood by Americans who fail to recognize that fanaticism can grow from a misguided application of any religion. Ultimately, El Sawy attempts to build bridges of understanding by explaining the tenets of peace, harmony, and beauty that undergird Islam and a Muslim’s everyday life.

Keywords: religion, islamophobia, misrepresentation, cultural differences

 

Goodman, D. J. (2001). About Privileged Groups. In Promoting Diversity and Social Justice : Educating People From Privileged Groups (pp. 13–36). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/004173163

This chapter in the book Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People from Privileged Groups offers perspectives on how privileged groups often see themselves and the world. Diane Goodman explains privilege as a system of advantage that creates greater access to power, resources, and opportunities that are denied to others. Additionally, privileged groups exercise cultural and institutional domination which oppresses subordinate groups. This happens because privileged groups are the point of reference against which other groups are judged, which allows privileged groups to determine cultural norms and establish policy and practice. The sense of normalcy for the norms and values of privileged groups in turn leads to a sense of superiority. Privileged groups typically hold their own norms and values as preferable, while distorting and denigrating the qualities of other groups which allows for people from privileged groups to rationalize the systematic unfair treatment of people from oppressed groups. Goodman elaborates that the power of privileged groups is maintained by the lack of consciousness privileged groups have of the identities that privilege them. Members of privileged groups often don’t see themselves as privileged, choosing to think of themselves as individuals rather than a member of a social group. Also, privileged groups practice denial and avoidance of oppression, often refusing to confront their own privileges when made aware of them. However, in working to fully understand the perspectives of privileged groups, it is important to note that one’s privileges are mediated by one’s other social positions. Privilege in one area does not prevent subordination in another.

Keywords: privilege, identity, power, difference, inclusive

 

Johnson, A. G. (2001). The Trouble We’re In: Privilege, Power, and Difference. In Privilege, Power, and Difference (pp. 12–40). Boston: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/003709423/

This chapter in the book Privilege, Power, and Difference provides a detailed overview of how difference, privilege, and power operate in society. Allan Johnson explains that the trouble around difference is really about privilege and power. Our world is organized in ways that encourage people to use difference to include or exclude, reward or punish, elevate or oppress, and/or value or devalue certain individuals and groups. Johnson elaborates that privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Johnson utilizes the work of Peggy McIntosh to further explore privilege, noting that there are two types of privilege. “Unearned advantages” are things that all people should have, such as feeling safe in public spaces or working in a place where individuals feel they belong and are valued, yet, these rights or advantages are restricted to certain groups. “Conferred dominance” goes further by giving one group power over another. A common example of conferred dominance is men controlling conversations with women due to a cultural assumption that men are supposed to dominate women.

Keywords: privilege, difference, power, oppression, identity, inclusive

 

Linton, S. (1998). Reassigning Meaning. In Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity (pp. 8–33). New York, NY: New York University Press. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/004567482

This book chapter in Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, explores and explains the meanings commonly assigned to disability. Paying attention to the explicit and implicit meanings of select words, l Simi Linton warns against the widespread use of medical meaning-making to describe disability. Linton explains that this medicalization casts human variation as deviant from a norm, an individual burden, and/or a personal tragedy. Linton categorizes the meanings assigned to disability as (1) nice words, (2) nasty words, (3) speaking about overcoming and passing, (4) normal/ abnormal, (5) passivity versus control, and (5) multiple meanings. In each category, Linton addresses the reasoning, misrepresentations, gaps and silences these words often facilitate in regard to people with disabilities. In working towards more appropriate and humanizing language, Linton advocates that disability should be viewed as a social and political experience which can facilitate empowerment, political action and social change.

Keywords: disability, language, identity, inclusive, social change

 

Martin, R. H. (2012 10–30). ABC’s of Accommodations. The New York Times, p. ED23. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/guide-to-accommodations-for-college-students-with-disabilities.html

This New York Times article provides an overview of accommodations for students with disabilities at colleges and universities from an institutional perspective. The author, Roger Martin, a former university president, writes about how students, parents, and institutions can best work to meet student’s needs. Accommodations refers to the changes needed to make environments accessible and navigable for all students. Notably, accommodations depend on a respective student’s disability and unique circumstances. Considering the role of accommodations at colleges and universities is important because while K-12 settings work to identify students with disabilities and meet their needs, at colleges and universities students must identify themselves and request services. Once students self-identify spaces like classrooms, libraries, and residence halls must be made accessible; however some accommodations can be deemed unreasonable if financial costs are too high or academic requirements are significantly altered. College administrators encourage that students in need of accommodations must learn to advocate for themselves in order to take ownership of their educational experiences.

Keywords: disability, accommodations

 

Nelson, J. (2001). Clean Break. In J. Harris & P. Johnson (Eds.), Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories (pp. 268–273). New York, NY: Pocket Books. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/004175565

In this personal narrative in the book Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories, Jill Nelson recounts memories with neighbors, strangers, and the media to demonstrate that having long, straight hair is most valued in society.  As a Black girl growing up in New York City, Nelson shares stories of managing her own Afro hair in attempts to meet this standard of beauty. Importantly, Nelson resolves that Black women and girls are often marked invisible to others in society by this standard that few women meet. Nelson advocates that Black girls and women must acknowledge the commonality of their experiences and work to affirm one another in the face of mainstream social and cultural values that exclude and ignore.

Keywords: standards of beauty, gender, Black girls and women, hair, social and cultural values, Women of Color (WOC)

 

Rodriguez, J. (2006). Color-Blind Ideology and the Cultural Appropriation of Hip-Hop. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35(6), 645 – 668. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241606286997

In this academic article, Jason Rodriguez examines white youths’ use of color-blind ideology to appropriate hip-hop music. Colorblindness works as an ideology by disguising the institutional arrangements that reproduce structural inequalities and the current racial order. Using ethnographic methods, Rodriguez finds that the majority of white youth concertgoers participate in hip hop scenes to indicate the irrelevance of race in their own lives, even as they recognize the salience of race and racial inequality for others. Furthermore, youth use color-blind ideology to appropriate the culture of hip-hop, by taking racially-coded meanings out of the music and replacing them with color-blind ones. For example, after a show where a hip-hop artists asked the crowd to chant “I’m an African,” a white youth in attendance explained that “it’s all just people and no matter what the color of your skin, it just doesn’t matter.”  Rodriguez’s study provides a helpful demonstration of how color-blind ideology and racism can operate in a local context and among youth.

Keywords: color-blind racism, whiteness, race, cultural appropriation, hip-hop music

 

Rogers, R. (2006). From Cultural Exchange to Transculturation: A Review and Reconceptualization of Cultural Appropriation. Communication Theory, 16(4), 474–503. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00277.x

This academic article details different types of cultural appropriation, emphasizing that not all acts of appropriation are equal and necessarily harmful. Cultural appropriation is defined broadly as the use of a culture’s symbols, artifacts, genres, rituals, or technologies by members of another culture. The author, Richard Rogers, explains that some type of cultural appropriation is inescapable when cultures come into contact. Importantly, Rogers does not limit cultural appropriation to instances where those engaged in appropriation do so to further their own needs. Rogers defines and illustrates four types cultural appropriation found in inter-cultural communication literature: (1) exchange, (2) dominance, (3) exploitation, and (4) transculturation. Cultural exchange is the reciprocal exchange of symbols, artifacts, rituals, genres, and/or technologies between cultures with roughly equal levels of power. Cultural dominance is the use of elements of a dominant culture by members of a subordinated culture in a context in which the dominant culture has been imposed onto the subordinated culture. This also includes appropriations that enact resistance. Cultural exploitation is the appropriation of elements of a subordinated culture by a dominant culture without substantive reciprocity, permission, and/or compensation. Transculturation is cultural elements created from and/or by multiple cultures, such that identification of a single originating culture is difficult. For example, multiple cultural appropriations are incorporated in the dynamics of globalization which creates cultural forms that draw on a multitude of different cultures and cultural norms. The author explains that these categories and their underlying conceptualizations of power, culture, and agency provide a set of tools for thinking through complex cultural dynamics.

Keywords: cultural appropriation, intercultural communication, globalization, power

 

Root, M. (1996). A Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People. In The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier (pp. 3–14). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/003022929

This chapter in the book The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier, outlines need to attend to the human rights of racially mixed people. The rights asserted in this chapter reflect the importance of resistance, revolution, and change within an oppressive racial system that has minimized the contributions of multiracial people to society, marked multiracial people as deviant, and/or altogether ignored their existence. Rights of resistance include (1) I have the right not to justify my existence in this world, (2) not to keep the races separate within me, (3) not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical ambiguity, and (4) not to justify my ethnic legitimacy. Secondly, rights of revolution include (1) I have the right to identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify, (2) to identify myself differently than how my parents identify me, (3) to identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters, and (4) to identify myself differently in different situations. Lastly, rights of change include (1) I have the right to create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial, (2) to change my identity over my lifetime—and more than once; (3) to have loyalties and identify with more than one group of people; and (4) to freely choose whom I befriend and love. The rights elaborated encourage multiracial people to refuse fragmentation of their identity in order to embrace the full humanity in themselves and others.

Keywords: multiracial, race, identity, power, discrimination

 

Sandine, A. (2010). Cultural Impersonations and Appropriations: A Fashion Report. Monthly Review, 62(4), 34–44. Retrieved from https://www.lib.umich.edu/articles/details/FETCH-LOGICAL-d1635-2497af3894d77c45bebee38de06468597f3c8caff20d56dfc88fa69d68ea7e8c3

In this article from the Monthly Review, an independent socialist magazine, Al Sandine explores the concept of cultural appropriations and its relationship to class and representation. Sandine explains Thorstein Veblen’s concept of conspicuous consumption, which asserts that the things we own tell others where we stand in social and class hierarchies. Put simply, our appearance and manner tell others who we are and/or who we want them to think we are. However, Sandine notes that over the past few decades standards for personal appearance have contradicted Veblen’s concept, with increasing fashion trends that draw on historically lower-class statuses. For example, tattoos, hip-hop/ urban clothing, and motorcycles are offered as examples of historically lower-class items that have been appropriated into mainstream representation. Sandine quotes Barbara Eherenreich who explained that “capitalism had taken the anger and yearning of the poor and sold them to the restless youth of the middle class.” Moreover, some sociologists have explained this phenomenon as middle-class efforts to ward off downward mobility through sanitized explorations of poverty in self-representation. Ultimately, this shift in mainstream standards of representation is problematic and exploitative of marginalized individuals and groups. Sandine’s analysis helps in understanding the self-representations some middle-class youth and young adults may employ.

Note: While this article brings up nuanced considerations of class, style, and representation, the author centers a white middle-class male perspective as the societal norm. Hence, styles that fall outside of this norm, especially styles that traditionally represent working-class, poor, or marginalized racial and ethnic groups are stereotyped as rough, deviant, or below the norm. It is important to consider that this is not how members of these cultural groups would necessarily represent their culture or cultural items.

Keywords: cultural appropriation, class, representation, style, social and cultural values

 

Shah, S. (2004). Asian American? In Race, Class, and Gender in the United States : an integrated study (pp. 351–353). New York: Worth Publishers. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/005374553

In this short chapter included in the anthology Race, Class, and Gender in the U.S., Sonia Shah asserts the humanity and diversity of Asian Americans. Shah speaks to the imprecise nature of the term Asian American, as it is used to represent many different histories, ethnicities, and nationalities. She explains the unfortunate fact that what most Asian Americans have in common are harmful stereotypes like the model minority myth, which characterizes Asians as naturally high achieving and hard working. Shah points out how this myth works to position Asians against other minority groups who are in turn stereotyped as “bad.” Shah calls for a more nuanced understanding of Asian American history to better understand the realities and achievements of Asian America.

Keywords: model minority myth, stereotypes

 

Svokos, A. (2015 4–7). UMich Student: “I Don”t Have A Single Arab Or Muslim Friend That Hasn’t’ Experienced Discrimination. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/umich-anti-muslim-town-hall_n_6841510.html

This Huffington Post article shares the importance of creating spaces on campus for Arab and Muslim students to speak about their experiences of discrimination and bias. Whether in the form of outright discrimination or microaggressions, which are acts of indirect or subtle discrimination, many Arab and Muslim students express experiencing some sort of discrimination on campus. In the wake of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim attacks in the Fall of 2016, a town hall and vigil were organized at the University of Michigan. At these events students reported feeling a sense of support and solidarity across groups on campus that represent Muslim and/or Arab community members. The two University of Michigan students and professor interviewed in this article emphasize the need to speak about their experiences, process grief, and understand that what they are feeling is not wrong. The creation of spaces for dialogue and care is an instrumental step in working to meet the needs of Arab and Muslim students.

Keywords: discrimination, microaggressions, hate crimes, islamophobia, religion, solidarity

 

Tatum, B. D. (2003). The Complexity of Identity, “Who am I?” In Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (pp. 18–28). New York: Basic Books. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/006963439/

Exploring the complexity of identity, this practitioner-oriented article helps unpack our multifaceted identities and their different relationships to power. Beverly Tatum explains that the concept of identity is complex and multidimensional, shaped by different characteristics such as family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts, among others. Specifically, Tatum emphasizes that our racial identities are mediated by other dimensions of our identity. For example, gender, age, socioeconomic class, sexuality, and religion, among other identities, all shape how an individual experiences their racial identity. Each of these categories can have a form of oppression associated with it that differently position individuals to domination and subordination in society. Dominant groups, by definition, set the parameters within which the subordinate group operate. The dominant group holds the power and authority in society and determines how that power and authority may be acceptably used. Many of us are both dominant and subordinate across our diverse identities. Tatum cautions that resisting our own oppression does not relieve us of the responsibility of acknowledging our complicity in the oppression of others. In working towards a more just and inclusive future, Tatum encourages a deeper exploration of our multifaceted identities, so that we may embrace our full humanity and build alliances across difference.

Keywords: race, identity, power, difference, inclusive

 

University of Missouri, I., Diversity &. Equity. (n.d.). The Language of Identity: Using inclusive terminology at Mizzou. Retrieved from https://diversity.missouri.edu/education/handouts/inclusive-language.pdf

Paying attention to the impact of language, this resource provides short definitions of select words, terms, and policies that can aid in promoting inclusivity in diverse spaces. Specifically, definitions assist with better understanding ability status, faith and religion, gender and sexuality, socio-economic status, safety issues, and race, ethnicity, and national origin. This resource is helpful in beginning to learn about inclusive language and concepts.

Keywords: inclusive, dialogue

 

Wendell, S. (1989). Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability. Hypatia, 4(2), 104–124. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/000863767/

In this theoretical article, Susan Wendell advocates for a feminist-centered theory of disability. Wendell explains that a theory of disability should be feminist, because more than half of disabled people are women and approximately 16% of women are disabled. Additionally, feminist thinkers have raised important issues about cultural attitudes of the body that speak to disability studies approaches. Using feminist thought as a foundation, Wendell emphasizes that we must adequately account for the socially-constructed nature of disability and the very real mental and physical issues of living with disability. Furthermore, Wendell explains that how a society defines disability and whom it recognizes as disabled are of psychological, economic and social importance. Treating health and vigor as moral virtues for everyone harms people with disabilities as well as able-bodied individuals. Instead, by encouraging everyone to acknowledge, accommodate and identify with a wide range of physical conditions, we can promote greater self-acceptance in society. Indeed, through the incorporation of the experiences and knowledge of disabled people into mainstream culture, culture and society can be transformed for the benefit of all.

Keywords: disability, able-bodiedness, accommodations, feminist
van Breen, J. A., Spears, R., Kuppens, T., & de Lemus, S. (2018). Subliminal Gender Stereotypes: Who Can Resist?. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218771895

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Keywords: women, math, resistance, resilience, feminist

 

Blosser, E. (2017). Gender Segregation Across Engineering Majors: How Engineering Professors Understand Women’s Underrepresentation in Undergraduate Engineering. Engineering Studies. 9.1. 24-44. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/19378629.2017.1311902

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Keywords: Engineering Education, Gender, underrepresentation, stereotypes

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Inclusive Classrooms

This section provides helpful practices, concepts, and resources for creating classrooms inclusive to all students. Works pay attention to disability and the unique needs of STEM classrooms.

Fox, A. (2010). How to Crip the Undergraduate Classroom: Lessons from Performance, Pedagogy, and Possibility. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 23(1), 38–46. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ888643

In this academic article, Ann Fox utilizes the anthology Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights (2006) as a resource for implementing and teaching disability studies across disciplines. Fox explains the need to “crip” the classroom. The term crip or cripping is used in disability studies as a reclamation of its pejorative use. Also, this term is used to express the fluidity in identities within disabled communities. Cripping spaces involves questioning mainstream representation to reveal assumptions of able-bodiedness and how this excludes or silences disabled identities. In striving to create a more inclusive course and campus, Fox offers the strategies of (1) cripping the canon, (2) cripping the curriculum, (3) enlisting your colleagues in performance, and (4) creating alternative on-campus disability performances. Cripping the canon encourages instructors to recognize how disability shapes knowledge and creation. Moreover, cripping the canon promotes the recognition of disabled people as important contributors to a field. Similarly, cripping the curriculum calls for instructors to underscore for students the ways disability may be hiding in plain sight in respective disciplines. Importantly, it also involves curricular design that asks students to rethink their own encounters with disability. Enlisting your colleagues in performance emphasizes activities and engagement that help others to see the socially constructed nature of disability. Lastly, creating alternative on-campus disability performances calls for highlighting the disability aspect of a historical or cultural moment. It encourages re-seeing exhibits, performance, etc. through the lens of disability. Overall, this article provides thoughtful suggestions and insights for designing courses and campus events utilizing tenets of disability studies.

Keywords: disability, pedagogical strategies, identity, performance, curriculum, inclusive

 

Maier, H. (2016 3–17). Hannah Maier: Faculty sensitivity training. The Michigan Daily. Retrieved from https://www.michigandaily.com/section/columns/hannah-maier-faculty-sensitivity-training

In this short article, Hannah Maier shares a harmful personal experience of navigating anxiety in the classroom. Maier uses her experience to demonstrate the necessity of faculty sensitivity training. She explains that faculty sensitivity training is needed to help faculty learn how to communicate with students who suffer from mental health disorders. Moreover, faculty must be trained to recognize common symptoms of mental health disorders and how to intervene appropriately. Maier emphasizes that faculty knowing the rights and services of students with disabilities is necessary to respecting all students and facilitating their learning.

Keywords: faculty, mental health, students with disabilities

 

Martin, R. H. (2012 10–30). ABC’s of Accommodations. The New York Times, p. ED23. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/guide-to-accommodations-for-college-students-with-disabilities.html

This New York Times article provides an overview of accommodations for students with disabilities at colleges and universities from an institutional perspective. The author, Roger Martin, a former university president, writes about how students, parents, and institutions can best work to meet student’s needs. Accommodations refers to the changes needed to make environments accessible and navigable for all students. Notably, accommodations depend on a respective student’s disability and unique circumstances. Considering the role of accommodations at colleges and universities is important because while K-12 settings work to identify students with disabilities and meet their needs, at colleges and universities students must identify themselves and request services. Once students self-identify spaces like classrooms, libraries, and residence halls must be made accessible; however some accommodations can be deemed unreasonable if financial costs are too high or academic requirements are significantly altered. College administrators encourage that students in need of accommodations must learn to advocate for themselves in order to take ownership of their educational experiences.

Keywords: students with disabilities, accommodations

 

Brown, M. K., Hershock, C., Finelli, C. J., & O’Neal, C. (2009). Teaching for Retention in Science, Engineering, and Math Disciplines: A Guide for Faculty (CRLT Occasional Papers No. 25) (p. 12). Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan.

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Keywords: STEM, diversity, inclusive, classrooms, faculty, teaching

 

Killpack, T. L., & Melón, L. C. (2016). Toward Inclusive STEM Classrooms: What Personal Role Do Faculty Play? CBE- Life Sciences Education, 15(3), 9.

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Keywords: STEM, faculty, inclusive, classrooms, stereotypes, implicit bias

 

Sellers, S. L., Friedrich, K. A., Gunasekera, N., Tabassum, S., & Burstyn, J. N. (2006). Case Studies in Inclusive Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2nd ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning.

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Keywords: STEM, case studies, inclusive, classrooms, faculty, teaching, dialogue, diversity, identity

 

Sellers, S. L., Roberts, J., Giovanetto, L., Friedrich, K., & Hammargren, C. (2007). Reaching All Students: A Resource for Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2nd ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning.

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Keywords: STEM, faculty, inclusive, classrooms, teaching, evaluation

 

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Social Change

This section highlights concepts and actions that can contribute to enacting social change systemically and in our personal lives.

Harro, R. (2010). Cycle of Liberation. In M. Adams, W. Blumenfeld, R. Castañeda, H. Hackman, M. Peters, & X. Zúñiga (Eds.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (2nd ed., p. 464). New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/007532492/

This practitioner-oriented academic article, provides concepts and actions that can lead to the disruption of oppressive power dynamics in society. Bobby Harro explains that while paths towards personal and systemic liberation are not always the same, he identifies common traits and events that teach us our roles in oppression, and ultimately contribute to liberation within ourselves and society at large. Harro draws on the work of Paulo Freire to define liberation as a “critical transformation” where one can “name the problem” and begin to see systemic assumptions, structures, rules, and roles that are flawed. Harro’s model includes seven steps that build on one another. Steps include (1) waking up, (2) getting ready, (3) reaching out, (4) building community, (5) coalescing, (6) creating change, and (7) maintaining. Waking up is characterized by intrapersonal change that is triggered by a critical incident that creates cognitive dissonance. Getting ready is characterized by introspection and self-education which allows for empowerment of self and dismantling oppressive beliefs and attitudes. Reaching out is characterized by movement out of self towards others to gain feedback on new worldviews. Throughout this phase, individuals often change how they value others and see the world. Building Community is characterized by dialogue with other who both share and do not share social identities to explore differences and assumptions. Coalescing is characterized by collective action to interrupt oppressive systems. Organizing, lobbying, and educating others, among others, are common actions that may occur in this step. Creating change is characterized by working towards a new culture that reflects a collective identity and new structures that are consistent with a more socially just and equitable society. Lastly, maintaining is characterized by integrating and strengthening social change into the ritual of daily life.

Keywords: power, social change, oppression, socialization

 

Johnson, A. G. (2001). The Trouble We’re In: Privilege, Power, and Difference. In Privilege, Power, and Difference (pp. 12–40). Boston: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/003709423/

This chapter in the book Privilege, Power, and Difference provides a detailed overview of how difference, privilege, and power operate in society. Allan Johnson explains that the trouble around difference is really about privilege and power. Our world is organized in ways that encourage people to use difference to include or exclude, reward or punish, elevate or oppress, and/or value or devalue certain individuals and groups. Johnson elaborates that privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Johnson utilizes the work of Peggy McIntosh to further explore privilege, noting that there are two types of privilege. “Unearned advantages” are things that all people should have, such as feeling safe in public spaces or working in a place where individuals feel they belong and are valued, yet, these rights or advantages are restricted to certain groups. “Conferred dominance” goes further by giving one group power over another. A common example of conferred dominance is men controlling conversations with women due to a cultural assumption that men are supposed to dominate women.

Keywords: privilege, difference, power, oppression, identity, inclusive

 

Linton, S. (1998). Reassigning Meaning. In Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity (pp. 8–33). New York, NY: New York University Press. Retrieved from https://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/004567482

This book chapter in Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, explores and explains the meanings commonly assigned to disability. Paying attention to the explicit and implicit meanings of select words, l Simi Linton warns against the widespread use of medical meaning-making to describe disability. Linton explains that this medicalization casts human variation as deviant from a norm, an individual burden, and/or a personal tragedy. Linton categorizes the meanings assigned to disability as (1) nice words, (2) nasty words, (3) speaking about overcoming and passing, (4) normal/ abnormal, (5) passivity versus control, and (5) multiple meanings. In each category, Linton addresses the reasoning, misrepresentations, gaps and silences these words often facilitate in regard to people with disabilities. In working towards more appropriate and humanizing language, Linton advocates that disability should be viewed as a social and political experience which can facilitate empowerment, political action and social change.

Keywords: disability, language, identity, inclusive, social change

 

Miller, V., VeneKlasen, L., Reilly, M., & Clark, C. (2006). Making Change Happen: Power. Just Associates, 3. Retrieved from https://justassociates.org/en/resources/mch3-power-concepts-revisioning-power-justice-equality-and-peace

Paying attention to our current political context, this practitioner-oriented resource explains different concepts of power alongside appropriate strategies for organizers and activists. Power is defined as the degree of control over material, human, intellectual and financial resources exercised by different sections of society. Specifically, four types of power are detailed: (1) power over, (2) power with, (3) power to, and (4) power within. Power over is explained as privileges given to certain people that allow for the marginalization of others. Power over can be exercised in different ways that range from policies and rules, hidden actors, and/or socialization that shapes the minds and beliefs of individuals. Speaking to more liberating forms of power, Power with is explained as working to find common ground among different interests to build collective strength. Power with can be demonstrated through community and spiritual connections, alliances, and movement building, among others. Power to is explained as fostering the potential of every person to make a difference in his or her life and world. For example, power to can be exercised through education, training, and leadership development towards social justice efforts. Power within is explained as the capacity to imagine change and have hope. Power within requires a sense of self-worth and self-knowledge which can be developed through critical reflection, spirituality, and storytelling, among others. Lastly, in detailing the different forms of power, this resource emphasizes that power is dynamic, relational, contextual, and both public and private.

Keywords: power, social justice, organizing, activism, political climate

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STEM Education

This section includes practices and strategies used in STEM disciplines to cultivate inclusive classrooms, and highlights research on populations that could be better served in these disciplines.

van Breen, J. A., Spears, R., Kuppens, T., & de Lemus, S. (2018). Subliminal Gender Stereotypes: Who Can Resist?. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218771895

This study examines women’s resistance to subliminal stereotype exposure. It looks at the impact of feminist identification in women; the authors’ definition of resistance encompasses any sort of behaviors that contradict stereotypes, and in this case they examine persistence in a math task. The authors conducted experiments to discern the differences between women who identify with other women, women who identify with only feminists, and women who identify with both. In summary, the study’s experiments consisted of women being subliminally exposed to stereotypes and counter-stereotypes and then being asked to complete exercises.Their performance and persistence in these exercises was used to deduce the impact of their identifications. One of the most interesting results is that women who identify with only feminists had the highest persistence in the math task after being subliminally exposed to a stereotype when compared to all other groups of women. This article raises questions about nurturing identities of resistance for member of oppressed groups for the purposes of recruiting and retaining those same people in STEM fields.

Keywords: women, math, resistance, resilience, feminist

 

Blosser, E. (2017). Gender Segregation Across Engineering Majors: How Engineering Professors Understand Women’s Underrepresentation in Undergraduate Engineering. Engineering Studies. 9.1. 24-44. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/19378629.2017.1311902

In this qualitative study, the author shows that women’s participation in different engineering majors is influenced by cultural understandings of certain engineering types and tasks as more or less feminine. She interviews engineering faculty to gather their perspectives about women’s participation in engineering, and uses grounded theory to examine their comments. Some faculty commented that Industrial Engineering, for example, is often understood as “softer” or requires more work with people than something like Mechanical Engineering, which is “harder” or requires more work with machines. The article shows that these cultural understandings are perpetuated, in part, by faculty discourse and may be apparent in faculty interactions with students. Therefore, the author argues that we need to have more conversations about this topic in order to avoid inadvertently stereotyping students and gendering engineering majors. This article is useful for engineering students and faculty, as a way to have conversations about assumptions they might bring to engineering majors and students.

Keywords: Engineering Education, Gender, underrepresentation, stereotypes

 

Brown, M. K., Hershock, C., Finelli, C. J., & O’Neal, C. (2009). Teaching for Retention in Science, Engineering, and Math Disciplines: A Guide for Faculty (CRLT Occasional Papers No. 25) (p. 12). Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan.

Specifically examining the role faculty can play in retaining diverse students in STEM, this paper describes classroom strategies and teaching behaviors that have been demonstrated to improve student success in STEM. Authors draw from Tinto’s Longitudinal Model of Institutional Departure to identify four factors that influence students’ decisions to stay in or leave STEM. Identified factors include: (1) classroom climate, (2) feedback on learning, (3) inquiry-based learning, and (4) exposure to real-world applications and careers. Authors discuss these factors respectively and detail appropriate strategies and behaviors that can mitigate issues. For classroom climate, suggestions include assigning challenging (not trivial) work at a challenging (not overwhelming) pace, being strategic in organizing and using teams, and actively cultivating instructor-student rapport, among others. For feedback on learning, suggestions include transparency about grading policies, providing students with frequent feedback about their learning, and emphasizing content mastery over performance comparisons, among others. For inquiry-based learning, suggestions include asking students to generate hypotheses and ways to test them, inviting students to practice interpreting and drawing their own conclusions, and asking students to make predictions by applying course concepts to unfamiliar situations. Lastly, exposure to real-world applications and careers suggests actively highlighting connections between STEM learning and real-world applications and introducing students to career opportunities related to STEM learning

Keywords: STEM, diversity, inclusive, classrooms, faculty, teaching

 

Killpack, T. L., & Melón, L. C. (2016). Toward Inclusive STEM Classrooms: What Personal Role Do Faculty Play? CBE- Life Sciences Education, 15(3), 9.

Given the continued gender and racial disparities within student persistence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, this academic article provides recommendations for STEM faculty on creating inclusive classrooms. Recommendations encourage faculty to (1) mind the privilege gap between students and themselves when developing courses, (2) acknowledge and confront implicit biases, and (3) mitigate stereotype threat in the classroom. In working to mind privilege gaps between students and faculty, authors recommend faculty reflect on their own privileges and sense of belonging in the field. Additionally, faculty should broaden their representations of scientists to increase a sense of belonging among all students. In acknowledging and reducing implicit biases, authors recommend paying attention to nonverbal communication, altered expectations, and judgments of students that may expose unconscious biases. Also, engaging in meaningful and cooperative interactions with diverse colleagues, participating in diversity-focused courses and workshops, and using systematic methods for grading and hiring are offered as concrete strategies for reducing implicit biases. Lastly, in working to mitigate stereotype threat activation, authors recommend awareness of subtle cues in classrooms. Stereotype threat can cause fear and anxiety among students due to worries of confirming negative stereotypes associated with marginalized identities. Subtle cues like asking students their demographic information before taking a test can activate stereotype threat. Or, more positively, allowing students time to reflect on positive experiences in the course can increase their performance.

Keywords: STEM, faculty, inclusive, classrooms, stereotypes, implicit bias

 

Sellers, S. L., Friedrich, K. A., Gunasekera, N., Tabassum, S., & Burstyn, J. N. (2006). Case Studies in Inclusive Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2nd ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning.

This case book explores teaching in post-secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) instructional settings. Case studies provided in this book aim to aid instructors and students in discussion on identity and diversity. Cases specifically deal with the following issues: 1) gender and sexual harassment, (2) race/ ethnicity, (3) nationality, (4) disability, (5) sexual orientation, (6) religion, (7) learning style, and (8) academic preparation. For example, a case study entitled “Mike Bertal” presents a young, energetic professor who heavily utilizes collaborative learning in his classroom. Despite rave reviews of his teaching, the professor is struggling to accommodate the learning style of an immigrant student. This resource prompts readers to consider the different issues at play in this case and any assumptions the professor is making about students’ backgrounds and learning styles, among other discussion points. Importantly, the case provides for multiple viewpoints, to create discussion and foster greater understanding among participants.

Keywords: STEM, case studies, inclusive, classrooms, faculty, teaching, dialogue, diversity, identity

 

Sellers, S. L., Roberts, J., Giovanetto, L., Friedrich, K., & Hammargren, C. (2007). Reaching All Students: A Resource for Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2nd ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning.

This resource provides instructors with STEM-specific (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) tools for creating inclusive learning environments. Through emphasis on weaving diversity throughout the life of a course, resources focus on (1) preparing to teach, (2) teaching methods, and (3) teaching as research. Preparing to teach includes information on how to get to know your students and prepare for students with different identities and backgrounds. Additionally, this section includes resources on developing course syllabi, objectives, and teaching strategies. Teaching methods, the heart of this resource, offers strategies on how to engage students by detailing the strengths and weaknesses of different teaching methods like lecturing, facilitating discussion, and creating writing assignments. Importantly, this section also discusses use of appropriate terminologies in courses and dealing with disruptive behaviors in class. Lastly, teaching as research provides resources on how to equitably incorporate evaluation into courses.

Keywords: STEM, faculty, inclusive, classrooms, teaching, evaluation

 

Hughes, B. E. (2018). Coming out in STEM: Factors affecting retention of sexual minority STEM students. Science advances4(3). Retrieved from http://www.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aao6373

This quantitative study found that sexual minority status had a statistically significant relationship with STEM retention. Further examination found that sexual minority students (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or queer students, etc.) are retained at lower rates than their heterosexual peers in STEM majors, and were more likely to switch to non-STEM majors. The study was conducted on a sample of 4162 undergraduate students who aspired to complete STEM degrees at 78 institutions, and it found that sexual minority students had a 7 percent lower retention rate than their peers. The study used a multilevel regression model to expand on previous research that hypothesized that sexual minorities persist in STEM majors at lower rates. The researchers’ analysis of the characteristics that have been previously found to increase STEM persistence (e.g., identification with STEM, pre-college academic preparation, etc.) only found one significant difference between sexual minority students and their heterosexual peers: sexual minority students were 9 percent more likely to participate in undergraduate research. That is an important finding because this research concluded that participation in undergraduate research was the strongest predictor of STEM degree completion. These findings are in line with previous research that shows that under-represented minorities that are equally prepared, or more prepared, than their peers leave STEM at higher rates.

Keywords: LGBTQ, retention, STEM, gender, undergraduate research

 

Cech, E. A., Metz, A., Smith, J. L., & deVries, K. (2017). Epistemological Dominance and Social Inequality: Experiences of Native American Science, Engineering, and Health Students. Science, Technology, & Human Values42(5), 743-774. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243916687037

This qualitative study offers insights from interviews conducted with Native American students in Science, Engineering, and Health undergraduate majors. It explores their experience navigating these disciplines, which are often perceived by these students to devalue or delegitimize the epistemologies that undergird the knowledge with which the students enter college. Broadly, the article cites epistemological differences that create unfavorable experiences for these students and highlights sites for interventions to support this under-represented group. The author argues that Native American students are disadvantaged by delegitimation of native epistemologies, problematic pedagogical practices, and credentialing requirements. The examples of these practices provide sites for intervention to create more inclusive environments for Native American Students. For example, a student described how Darwin traveling the world discovering species was one dominant narrative, while Native populations likely having had names, taxonomies, and understandings of them was brushed aside by the course instructor. Similarly another student shared how being asked to touch human remains or cut certain animals violated their Indigenous beliefs. Lastly, Native American students shared that these alienating experiences were something they endured in order to get an education to go back to help their community.

Keywords: Native American, epistemology, retention, students of color, curriculum, oppression

 

Foor, C. and Walden, S. (2009). “Imaginary Engineering” or “Re-Imagined Engineering”: Negotiating Gendered Identities in the Borderland of a College of Engineering. NWSA Journal. 21(2). 41-64. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/20628173.

In this text, the authors use feminist and discourse analysis to examine interviews from engineering students in the industrial engineering program at a large research university. This program, through no organized effort, achieved more than fifty percent female enrollment. Over the course of four years, the authors interviewed students about perceived gendered differences between industrial engineering and other engineering disciplines. They found that students often called industrial engineering “imaginary,” and characterized it as feminine or appropriate for women. The authors use this characterization as a way to reimagine the role of culture and identity in engineering education. They support a newly emerging concept, a “boundary model,” that allows for a broader discussion about the role of identity, discourse, and other cultural factors contributing to women’s underrepresentation in engineering disciplines. Because these factors are always shifting, the boundary model, particularly in the context of industrial engineering, provides a way to see how engineering boundaries can also shift and become permeable to people who have historically been excluded. Scholars of feminist theory and engineering education may be interested in including this reading in their upper-level courses, for class discussion. Additionally, STEM disciplines may want to engage their faculty in conversations about the role of identity and other cultural factors as well as the discourse around specific fields of study, which may impact ongoing underrepresentation.

Keywords: gender, identity, engineering, industrial engineering, boundary model, borderlands, feminist, underrepresentation

 

Ong, M., Wright, C., Espinosa, L., Orfield, G. (2011). Inside the Double-Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Research on Undergraduate Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Harvard Educational Review. 81(2). 172-208.

This review article surveys 116 empirical studies on women of color in STEM. The need for this work is framed in the context of improving diversity in STEM to develop a stronger workforce, and draw more perspectives into technical and scientific problems that remain unsolved. Notably, the researchers claim that initiatives meant to advance women and minorities in STEM mainly focus on white women and male minorities, so that women of color have largely been left out. Within this group, Asian American women tended to be over-represented as earners of STEM degrees, but underrepresented in tenure-track positions. Overall, women of color are underrepresented in faculty positions at all ranks. The researchers also highlighted problems with finding role models, establishing supportive relationships with mentors, and experiencing microaggressions. This study is useful for faculty interested in learning about the challenges women of color face and thinking about how to address these challenges in their classes and programs.

Keywords: women of color, STEM, role models, mentors, underrepresentation, campus climate, microaggressions

 

Ong, M., Smith, J., Ko, L. (2018). Counterspaces for Women of Color in STEM Higher Education: Marginal and Central Spaces for Persistence and Success. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 55(2). 206-245.

This qualitative study uses grounded theory and critical race theory to examine experiences of women of color in STEM education. Drawing on interviews from 39 participants, the authors develop a framework for an expanded understanding of “counterspaces” in STEM education programs and make an argument for continued study in the area. Counterspaces are safe havens where students can form community and find support outside traditional academic centers of power. Previous (?) research shows that women of color are more likely to persist in STEM when they have a mentor, a social group, or other close interpersonal relationship with someone in their field who shares a similar social identity. These relationships often form in or are facilitated by, counterspaces. This article found, however, that counterspaces can occur in unlikely or previously unthought of spaces. For example, STEM diversity conferences and non-STEM groups can function in this way. Even STEM departments, when they are diverse and have a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, can serve as counterspaces for women of color. This article features excerpts from student interviews to illustrate specific ways that counterspaces can make a difference in terms of combating microaggressions and bringing lasting change to male/white dominant STEM fields. The content may be useful for students to discuss in class, as a way to think about their own experiences. It may also be useful for instructors and administrators, in terms of thinking about making STEM education more inclusive and diverse. STEM units may also want to consider how to create intentional counterspaces to support underrepresented students.

Keywords: counterspaces, microaggressions, STEM, grounded theory, critical race theory, mentors

 

Oakley, B., R. Felder, R. Brent, I. Elhajj. (2004). Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning. 2(1), 9-34.

This article serves as a guide to forming effective teams in classes where little time can be devoted to teaching teamwork skills. The authors develop best practices for forming, monitoring, and maintaining teams with a particular focus on STEM courses. The text is divided into four sections, following the introduction, including a section on strategies for forming teams, a discussion of guidelines for helping teams work effectively, an overview of peer ratings and appropriate use, and a final section that addresses common instructor questions. The article also includes a link to surveys, forms, and other documents the authors recommend using for team formation and maintenance. Notably, because teamwork is often difficult, the article features recommendations for addressing these kinds of problems. For example, as a pre-emptive strategy, instructors can use the “crisis clinic,” a ten-minute session in class where students work in groups to brainstorm solutions to common problems that occur on teams. This article is excellent for instructors new to forming and monitoring teams in their classes. And, for those who are familiar with teamwork, it provides some recommendations that might strengthen their teaching practices.

Keywords: teams, collaborative learning, peer ratings

 

Griffin, K. (2018, April 23). Addressing STEM Culture and Climate to Increase Diversity in STEM Disciplines [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.higheredtoday.org/2018/04/23/addressing-stem-culture-climate-increase-diversity-stem-disciplines/

This blog post is one in a series around the topic of STEM and diversity. The article explains that STEM fields’ low racial and gender diversity creates implicit norms associating these fields’ values of objectivity and the capacity to seek out truth with whiteness and maleness. Consequently, women and people of color are more likely to have their abilities to enact these values as scientists and academics interrogated. On the other hand, the potential of whiteness and maleness to bias the endeavors of scientists and academics are not similarly interrogated. Regarding campus climate, the article cites research showing that the poor environment experienced by women and people of color in STEM, especially black people, leads to poor educational outcomes. The author makes four recommendations to faculty and staff for addressing disciplinary and campus climate: educate yourself; critically examine how the norms and culture of science contribute to the devaluation of marginalized students and their identities; implement a variety of efforts to support marginalized students in STEM disciplines and on the campus; generate faculty buy-in and incentivize their cooperation. Ultimately, the author calls for transformation of STEM disciplinary norms in conjunction with broader campus climate initiatives to address barriers to retention of underrepresented minorities.

Keywords: STEM, recruitment, retention, campus climate, disciplinary culture

 

Fink, A., Cahill, M. J., McDaniel, M. A., Hoffman, A., & Frey, R. F. (2018). Improving general chemistry performance through a growth mindset intervention: selective effects on underrepresented minorities. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1039/C7RP00244K

This experimental study evaluates a growth mindset intervention. Growth mindset refers to the believe that intellectual abilities can be developed through strategic hard work, and that those abilities are not simply fixed or innate. Students were randomly assigned to a General Chemistry 1 class treated with a growth mindset intervention or a control. The motivation for this experiment was to mitigate the impact of stereotype threat, or the fear of confirming negative stereotypes of one’s group, that result in worse academic performance. The researchers found there were no gender-based disparities in student achievement in General Chemistry 1 but there was a race-based disparity: white students in the control group performed better than underrepresented minority (URM) students. In addition, the study found that the average final-exam score of URM students treated with a growth mindset intervention was over 5 percent higher than that of URM students in the control group. Furthermore, there was no race-based disparity in the final-exam scores of the students treated with a growth mindset intervention, after accounting for differences in preparation. This study concludes that a growth mindset intervention can close the racial achievement gap in introductory general chemistry. The study also examined the long term effects of the intervention by following the students the following semester in General Chemistry 2. The researchers found that the impact was less than in General Chemistry 1, so the researchers advised against drawing strong conclusions about the long term effects of interventions like this one.

Keywords: chemistry, evaluation, intervention, stereotypes, race

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