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(In)Equities in Higher Education: Describe, Disrupt, and Scale

Dr. Elli Theobald
University of Washington | Department of Biology
Seminar date:
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 11:30 to 12:15
GNOM S060 (Foege Auditorium)

Educational inequities remain one of the most persistent and intractable problems in our society. Without equity, the STEM workforce will be unable to meet the needs of the growing economy and will also suffer from stunted innovation. Despite widespread efforts to increase access to and inclusion in STEM, minoritized students remain excluded from both STEM majors and STEM professions. The reasons for this exclusion are complex but instructors can play an active role in disrupting these inequities. My most relevant past, current, and future research aims to understand and disrupt the persistent systemic inequities that plague our education system. Specifically, I use quantitative and sometimes qualitative approaches to: 1) describe inequities; 2) identify instructor practices that disrupt inequities; and 3) scale equitable practices to all STEM disciplines, higher education systems, and discipline based education research (DBER). In this seminar, I will share my recent work describing inequities that plague education from K-12 to postsecondary classrooms. Next, I will highlight instructor practices that effectively disrupt inequities. Specifically, one of my recent studies showed that inequities in higher education STEM classes that used active learning were 75% smaller than inequities in STEM classes where instruction was delivered as lecture. Finally, I will conclude by showcasing promising tools my group is developing to scale equity-focused practices across higher education STEM contexts. Together we can move towards equity in higher education.

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