Initial Publication Date: May 11, 2017

Social Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group

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Mission Statement

Equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice are foundational in effective higher education settings, including STEM disciplines. Within ASCN and the working groups, we adhere to this premise.

We engage those that work on other aspects of systemic change in higher education (including teaching; learning; community engagement; and employment, evaluation, and advancement opportunities) for focused knowledge synthesis. This working group also brings together communities whose work focuses on equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice in higher education. These communities share many goals but may have developed and operated independently of one another.

This working group explores the intersection of equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice with systemic change in higher education. We identify common ground, promote opportunities for collaboration, and lived perspectives from diverse stakeholders to inform this aim. We aim to support administrators, faculty, students, and staff; and promote access, participation, and success for all parties. We interact closely with the other ASCN working groups and pursue our own synthesis of knowledge.

We support this mission by focusing our work with administrators, educators, students, and communities in these areas:

  1. Culture and Climate
  2. Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Faculty
  3. Policy
  4. Curriculum change
  5. Student Success
  6. Leadership

Ongoing Work

  1. Continue our blog series (and perhaps develop resources from the posts)
  2. Drafting an edited open education book and grant to support social justice in STEMM curricula in collaboration withBioQUESTandSENCER
  3. Collect resources that already exist and publicize them
  4. Subgroups working on critical resources and associated summary for topics
  5. Create policy recommendation documents for faculty recruitment and retention

Working Group Resources

SJDEI in STEMM Blog Series- Our working group has an ongoing series of blog posts on topics around diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and social justice in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) programs, classrooms, departments, disciplines, universities, and at the national level.

Recruiting, Supporting, and Retaining Diverse Faculty Series 

In 2021, we hosted a series of discussions inviting faculty members, department chairs, and deans to engage with new approaches to recruiting diverse STEM faculty. We shared resources accumulated by ASCN Working Group 5, collective knowledge and experiences, and discussed strategies for working towards a more diverse academy.

Knowledge Claims and Guiding Questions

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and a focus on Social Justice is essential to excellence in science and science education. 

Inclusive Excellence (IE) is the recognition that a community or institution's success is dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni constituents.

AAC&U calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the well-being of democratic culture. Making excellence inclusive is thus an active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities.

Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)

Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions

Equity: The creation of opportunities for historically underserved populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion

Social justice is equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.

Guiding Questions

  • What does it mean for STEM to engage with inclusion, equity, and justice? How will that change the way we conceptualize the work, practice, and pedagogy (signature pedagogy) of science?
  • What are key policies that promote recruitment, retention, and development of faculty to lead this cultural change?
    • How do we create an environment that helps faculty flourish?
  • How are the policies and programs assessed?  What are the success metrics besides the number of faculty that make it through the tenure process?
  • How can administrative policies that reflect promising practices be disseminated and implemented? Key might be diversity training for all search committees. Diversity statements for all applicants, diversity training for all supervisors of faculty and undergrad and grad mentors.
  • What kinds of rewards and recognition might compensate for differential advising and counseling? (or should faculty not do this)?
  • What are the key elements of inclusive teaching and how can they be disseminated?
  • What essential support structures for students should be in place and how can this be disseminated?
  • How can UG STEM classes incorporate social justice issues? And how can faculty be encouraged and rewarded to do this work?
  • How should institutional and classroom climate be assessed, reported, and changed?
  • How do the issues differ for different institutional types?

Group Leaders

  • Pat Marstellar, Emory University (pmars [at] emory [dot] edu)
  • Ruthmae Sears, University of South Florida (ruthmaesears [at] usf [dot] edu)

Group Leaders

  • Pat Marsteller, Emory University (pmars [at] emory [dot] edu)
  • Ruthmae Sears, University of South Florida (ruthmaesears [at] usf [dot] edu)