Changing classroom culture through short belonging and mindset activities


  • Z. Yasemin Kalender Rochester Institute of Technology


Physics is one of the STEM domains that have been historically behind in creating a more diverse and welcoming environment for all student groups. Prior research showed that there have been differences in course achievement, persistence, self-confidence, sense of belonging, and mindset across gender usually favoring men in physics or related courses. Physics is also one of the few STEM disciplines that is thought to be requiring some innate talent which inversely correlates with the diversity ratio in the field (Leslie et al., 2015). Considering many such factors, students especially in their first year can have different views about what a success means and who can achieve that. In this talk, I will show our findings regarding student motivation by gender, describe an activity we designed and facilitated in the intro-level physics courses, and share our quantitative and qualitative findings. I will also share my experience as a facilitator during this intervention and the ways it can be incorporated in other domains.


Leslie, S.-J., Cimpian, A., Meyer, M., & Freeland, E. (2015). Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines. Science, 347(6219), 262-265.

Author Biography

Z. Yasemin Kalender, Rochester Institute of Technology

Z. Yasemin Kalender is an Assistant Professor at the Physics and Astronomy Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology conducting physics education research. Her current research interests are student motivation, equity and diversity in physics at all levels, group work in lectures and lab courses, sense of agency in hands on learning spaces, and graduate teaching assistants’ views and teacher identities.