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ABSTRACT TITLE: Adventures in Collaborative Grassroots Undergraduate STEM Inclusion Work
ABSTRACT KEYWORDS: undergraduate, race/ethnicity, gender, disability
The Adventures in Collaborative Grassroots Undergraduate STEM Inclusion Work presentation tells the story of a grassroots collaboration to advance equity and inclusion throughout engineering and natural sciences. The presentation will provide a history of the You Belong Here Campaign, the messy collaborative effort across two colleges that includes The Bias Busters cross-college and cross-campus team, branding and marketing, and the You Belong Here Workshop Series. The presentation will explore the evolution of the grassroots collaboration, provide an overview of the You Belong Here Workshop Series, and share impact data and lessons learned. The presentation will also include next steps and future directions for the You Belong Here Campaign.
History of the You Belong Here Campaign:
In November of 2015, three African American and Black students met with the Dean of Engineering to discuss the challenges they faced as underrepresented students in engineering. The You Belong Here Campaign was presented and approved in a subsequent meeting with school of engineering leadership including the Dean, Assistant Dean of Engineering Student Services and the engineering diversity program director.
The You Belong Here Campaign started as an idea to affirm current students of their place in the school of engineering. The campaign has grown to reach broader audiences including both undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. Through collaborations with the College of Natural Sciences and a parallel You Belong Here Campaign for natural sciences students, faculty and staff, the combined efforts have expanded across the broader STEM community. The campaign includes logos and branding, posters, stickers, magnets, presentation templates and banners to create visible messaging throughout visible student spaces including adviser and faculty offices, campus events, and college presentations. The You Belong Here Campaign also incorporates the Bias Busting Workshop and series of inclusion-focused learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff throughout the schools of engineering and natural sciences. The You Belong Here Workshop Series was initiated by the Carnegie Mellon and Google Bias Busting Workshop train the trainer dissemination with the Bias Busting Workshop offered to engineering students, staff and faculty. The workshop series expanded through collaborations with the College of Natural Sciences to include workshops on topics such as micromessaging, inclusive leadership, inclusive spaces, navigating the workshop.
Based on student input, the next phase of the You Belong Here Campaign focused on allyship is underway. Having a clear way to identify allies in our communities continues to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for our students. Ally stickers with the You Belong Here Campaign branding are being created while the process to receive the ally designation is under construction.
Evolution of Grassroots Cross-College and Cross-Campus Collaborations:
Collaborations are often born out of serendipitous events and fostered by passionate people with the freedom or opportunity to take action. At the same time as staff from the colleges engineering and natural sciences were commiserating over lack of diversity and inclusion training and learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff across campus and exploring opportunities to collaborate, engineering diversity and inclusion staff were bringing the Carnegie Mellon and Google developed Bias Busting Workshop to campus. Common interests, opportunities for content sharing, and grassroots energy amongst engineering and natural sciences staff led to the creation of The Bias Busters and the launch of a collaboration dedicated to providing workshops to students, faculty and staff to raise awareness about bias and work toward a more inclusive environment in STEM. The Bias Busters is a staff-led, grassroots effort with a core cross-college team creating strategy and a larger team engaged in You Belong Here Workshop Series dissemination and driving progress and reach throughout the two colleges and beyond. As successes of The Bias Busters have grown to reach more and more students, faculty and staff, others across campus have joined the team and You Belong Here Workshop Series delivery has expanded to other colleges, community partners and organizations. The Bias Busters are leading the You Belong Here Campaign across the colleges of engineering and natural sciences.
You Belong Here Workshop Series:
The You Belong Here Workshop Series was initiated by the Carnegie Mellon and Google Bias Busting Workshop train the trainer dissemination with the Bias Busting Workshop offered to engineering students, staff and faculty. The workshop series expanded through collaborations with the College of Natural Sciences to include workshops on topics such as micromessaging, inclusive leadership, inclusive spaces, navigating the workspace. The current You Belong Here Workshop Series includes 8 workshops developed or customized for engineering and natural sciences students, faculty and staff. All workshops are variable in length from 30 minutes to 90 minutes and customizable based on audience. Most workshops include role-playing based on relevant and real life scenarios, providing a powerful and effective approach for engaging participants in creating commitments to greater inclusivity. Workshops include practical tips for addressing behavior and strategies to address situations.
Bias Busting Workshops at our university are modeled after BiasBusters@CMU and Google’s Bias Busting@ Work programs. Bias Busting Workshops have an academic tone, focusing on summaries of research evidence into which discussions of experience are woven.
Managing MicroMessaging Workshops explore and discuss microaggressions, microinequities, microinvalidation, and microaffirmations.
Inclusion through Identities Workshops identify, explore and discuss the intersectionality of social and personal identities.
Countering Stereotype Threat Workshops define, explore and discuss stereotype threat and its impact on students, classrooms and other environments.
Navigating the Workspace Workshops and an alternative presentation that uses the Microsoft eLesson on Unconscious Bias discuss real scenarios presented in everyday work life. Following real-world scenario videos, presentation, discussion and supplemental worksheets help participants understand, document and discuss strategies to recognize and interrupt bias.
Inclusive Organization Leadership Workshops engage student organization leaders in the design of inclusive practices for their organization’s activities. Topics are customized based on the organization's needs and can include creating inclusive spaces, membership and leadership recruitment and engagement, inclusive meeting management and event facilitation, and more.
Creating Inclusive Spaces Workshops are highly interactive and designed to foster discussion about what makes an inclusive space, how inclusive spaces feel, and how we can all contribute to creating inclusive spaces in our workplaces, gathering places, and other environments.
Inclusive Classrooms Workshops are designed for graduate students to increase their awareness of respectful and inclusive classroom environments, to learn strategies to create inclusive classroom environments, to gain skills for preventing, recognizing and reacting to microaggressions and bias behaviors, and to increase awareness of campus resources that support inclusive and safe campus climate.
You Belong Here Workshop Campaign Reach and Impact:
Since the creation of the You Belong Here Campaign and adoption of the Bias Busting Workshop, The Bias Busters team, including 77 team members from across campus, has presented over 120 workshops from the You Belong Here Workshop Series reaching over 4,000 participants. Workshops have reached the following audiences (*data was not collected separately for the workshop mixed audiences):
● Undergraduate Students: 3,047 ● Graduate Students: 303 ● Staff & Faculty*: 220 ● Staff Only: 175 ● Faculty Only: 148 ● Industry Professionals: 121 ● Graduate Students & Faculty*: 47 ● Undergraduate Students & Staff*: 26
Workshop delivery has grown from 30 participants in 1 workshop in 2016 to 539 participants in 9 workshops in 2017 to 2,991 participants in 46 workshops in 2018. The Bias Busters team is on track to deliver over 60 You Belong Here Workshops reaching over 3,000 students, staff and faculty in 2019.
The Bias Busters team is currently exploring evaluation methods to assess the impact of the You Belong Here Campaign on culture and climate throughout the schools of engineering and natural sciences. Future climate surveys for students, staff and faculty will aid in the assessment with comparisons available with past climate survey data.
You Belong Here Campaign Lessons Learned:
Beginning the fourth year of cross-college collaboration with the You Belong Here Campaign, The Bias Busters team has learned quite a few lessons along the way. First and foremost, it is really important to acknowledge and understand that there is no end to this work. Learning about bias, inclusion and how to best have conversations in these areas is an ongoing challenge which requires continuous learning, updating and effort in areas that are constantly evolving as society, language and social norms advance. Secondly, The Bias Busters team knows the efforts are tremendously impactful and vital to creating more inclusive communities, but delivering the work remains a true challenge for team members to balance with other programmatic, administrative and teaching duties that comprise primary positions. Many team members are doing this work as an overload and in addition to their “regular” job duties, making prioritization an ongoing challenge. Thirdly, the grassroots approach and organization of the collaboration is messy and frequently undefined. There is far more work and items to accomplish than is humanly possible but the team has remained persistent and satisfied with small achievements.
Scheduling working meetings at various intervals during the academic year has been critical in furthering the collaboration efforts and maintaining the partnership when there have been personnel, priority and workload changes. Providing ongoing, in house, professional development for team members has also been a critical factor in helping to continue learning and conversations. Expanding the number of team members who are confident and comfortable in workshop delivery continues to be a challenge and a priority so the workload is shared across colleges and personnel. The professional development, a tiered training model, and shared presentation responsibilities continues to help the team evolve and expand the workshop delivery.
Finally, as these efforts have been self-directed, the lack of institutional and local administrative leadership presents both challenges and opportunities. At times, it seems that The Bias Busting team efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated. However, the messy, self-directed and grassroots approach has provided the team with the opportunity to create, grow and remain open to new areas of development. The freedom from a top-down approach and administrative bureaucracy has also allowed for the organic growth and cross-college and cross-university collaborations and engagement to develop.
You Belong Here Campaign Future Directions:
The Bias Busters team is committed to the continuation, expansion, and improvement of the You Belong Here Campaign. Current priorities include creating an ally strategy to recognize and identify allies in our communities and the expansion of the team of workshop facilitators and trainers who are confident and comfortable delivering all the workshops throughout the You Belong Here Workshop Series. The Bias Busters team is also currently exploring evaluation methods to assess the impact of the You Belong Here Campaign on culture and climate throughout the schools of engineering and natural sciences.
Future directions include creating online content to expand delivery of workshops beyond the classroom environment, incorporating content into university learning management systems, and exploring a You Belong Here credential to recognize participants who have completed a set of workshops or learning experiences. The work is endless and exciting and there is only room to expand and grow as we diligently, deliberately, strategically and energetically work to create a more inclusive environment throughout our science and engineering spaces.
Berry, T. S., & Dison, A. M., & Dominguez, E. E. (2021, January), Adventures in Collaborative Grassroots Undergraduate STEM Inclusion Work Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://peer.asee.org/36066
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