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Advancing Inclusion: A Professional Development Series for Faculty at a Hispanic Serving Institution

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2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)


Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Track 2: Technical Session 9: Establishing and Sustaining Inclusive Learning Communities for Supporting Faculty Creating More Inclusive Engineering Classrooms

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Paper Authors


Dianne Delima University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Dianne G. Delima is the Project Policy Analyst for The Institute for Meaningful Engagement (TIME). Dr. Delima received her doctorate in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she focused on the learning experiences of first-generation college-going students of color and faculty members' use of a funds of knowledge approach for teaching in college classrooms. Her research has been published in College Teaching and in two edited volumes. Dr. Delima's work and research interests are informed by her prior roles in elementary schools in Southern California, as a Research Assistant for the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, and her involvement with Professor Anna Neumann on Metropolitan Colleges Institute for Teaching Improvement at Columbia University. Her research interests in higher education are supplemented by her prior work as a student affairs administrator at Barnard College and as a Researcher and Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Understanding Race Education, under the direction of Professor Amy Stuart Wells.

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Pheather R Harris University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Harris has worked in postsecondary education for over two decades in various capacities. She began her career at Santa Monica College as a counseling aid at the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services office prior to her role as an Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Southern California. She then moved to Cambridge, MA to pursue her Master’s Degree in Higher Education, with a focus on Risk and Prevention, and began working at Tenacity, a non-profit organization focused on social-emotional learning and literacy development for middle school youth, as a Prevention Specialist. Dr. Harris formally moved to the east coast when she began her work at the Gates Millennium Scholars Program as a Senior Program Manager – managing the Academic Empowerment Program across partner organizations: the United Negro College Fund, The Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars. Dr. Harris received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Southern California, a Master of Arts degree in Education from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University. She is also an NSF IASPIRE Fellow and the Principal Investigator on a nearly $3-million dollar grant aimed at advancing access, diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM . Her research interest includes exploring the relationship between faculty mentor engagement and minoritized student STEM persistence. She is a critical methodologist who uses both post positivism and postmodernism to guide her inquiries.

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This session explores a two-year professional development experience (PDE) for STEM faculty at a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). The aim of the PDE is to provide STEM faculty with resources to advance inclusive classroom environments that support the subject matter learning and academic identity development of minoritized students (MS). For this work, we define minoritized students (MS) as African American and Latinx students whose identities are socially constructed within their specific social and political contexts (Benitez, 2010; McGee. 2020).

The PDE is designed to facilitate institutional transformation by addressing environmental factors that negatively influence STEM degree completion for MS. In year 1, the faculty meet for nine sessions once a month to discuss topics that interrogate their racial understandings, social positionalities, biases, and pedagogy and how all of these impact the MS students they teach. In year 2, faculty will implement what they learned in the program and conduct a workshop for their STEM schools as a way to broaden participation.

Cohort 1 (2022-23 academic year) consists of twelve faculty members. All the faculty have a particular STEM subject matter expertise and are either Assistant or Associate professors with diverse lived experiences and academic/ research responsibilities. Half of these faculty members are White, while three identify as Latina/o, two as Asian, and one as African American.

In the first few months of the PDE, the faculty were asked to complete two Qualtrics five-point Likert-scale surveys. The first survey took stock of faculty’s prior knowledge and experiences in access, diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, and their motivation for participating in a PDE that enhances their teaching and learning practices for MS in STEM. The second survey was distributed four months after the first survey and asked for faculty’s thoughts about the content they have learned so far in the PDE and how it has influenced their work with MS. For both surveys, eleven of the 12 (92%) faculty completed the survey in its entirety.

Results from these surveys show that, prior to their participation in the professional development experience, faculty had limited exposure to the frameworks that could help them shift their curriculum and practices to be inclusive to the experiences of MS. Despite this, the faculty demonstrated that they are eager to enhance their teaching and research practices to be more inclusive and equitable for MS in STEM. Faculty also claimed that, after participation in a few of the sessions, they began to reflect on their social and cultural locations, particularly in relation to the MS experience in STEM. Faculty began to consider their personal biases, and how this may impact the MS students they teach. Additionally, faculty shared that they will begin to utilize some of the ideas they have learned in the PDE to shift their curriculum and practices in order to be more inclusive and equitable to the lived experiences of MS.

These results have important institutional implications for preparing STEM faculty to teach and work with a diverse student population, particularly those from minoritized backgrounds.

Delima, D., & Harris, P. R. (2024, February), Advancing Inclusion: A Professional Development Series for Faculty at a Hispanic Serving Institution Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45430

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