Co-creating inclusive science curricula with students as partners

Lucy Mercer-Mapstone

Abstract


Student cohorts are rapidly diversifying with proportional increases in students from underrepresented minority groups including those defined by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, family composition, age, and economic status (Higher Education Today, 2018). STEM education is evolving more slowly and barriers faced by students are inequitable with underrepresented students facing greater challenges than their ‘traditional’ counterparts in achieving academic success (Kuh, O'Donnell, & Schneider, 2017).

One reason cited for these educational inequalities is the normative nature of many curricula in failing to include diverse experiences and ways of knowing (Jester, 2018). Regarding student learning, seeing the omission of their histories from mainstream curricula can lead to feelings of isolation, alienation, & marginalisation, to higher attrition rates, & to increases in inequitable sociodemographic attainment gaps (Magd, 2016; Seidman, 2012; Strayhorn, 2012).

This presentation, including student co-presenters, will share a process of science academics and professional staff partnering with science students in a faculty-wide initiative to make STEM curricula more inclusive & representative of diverse identities. Initial experiences, reflections, and findings from early evaluations will be reported with important implications and recommendations relevant to future teaching and learning initiatives in STEM.

Keywords


students as partners; inclusive education; diversity

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