July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Equity and Culture & Social Justice in Education
Anti-deficit teaching practices center on the effective use of transformative educational pedagogies that aim to create equitable learner spaces that integrate the voices of those traditionally marginalized (Perez et al., 2017). These intentional pedagogical strategies hold an important role in developing and increasing underrepresented students’ sense of belonging on campus – an aspect of the postsecondary experience that has a multitude of implications on engagement, retention, and success (O’Keefe, 2013; Pope, 2002). According to several studies, students’ sense of belonging indicates their own internalization of identity structures that either align or do not align with the current postsecondary culture, climate, or environment within which they are trying to obtain their education (Kuh, 2005; O’Keefe, 2013; Roberts, 2007; Wolf-Wendel, Ward, & Kinzie, 2009). By positively impacting students’ sense of belonging on campus, and specifically in engineering, through multicultural-specific leadership and community training, this type of curricula can transform students’ experiences in terms of cultural competency and engagement in social justice topics. Part of this process is utilizing transformative leadership pedagogy to elevate, recognize and integrate the voices as well as views of students who have been traditionally silenced. Their inclusion in the narrative of STEM contributions and the highlighting of their importance in the success of the higher learning institutions will assist in transforming the current non-inclusive perception.
The purpose of this contribution is to provide preliminary findings from the Science Technology Engineering and Math Foundry Heritage Fellows (STEM FHF) program, a student engagement and retention initiative at Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech), funded by a Tennessee Board of Regents Student Engagement, Retention, and Success grant. Two of the major objectives of the STEM FHF program were to provide underrepresented students with a diverse array of opportunities to engage in community outreach and service as well as extensive leadership training that leveraged the Renaissance Foundry Model (herein the Foundry) to help develop two community outreach projects featuring diversity in STEM. The Foundry provides an iterative framework through which student teams identify a student learning challenge and progress through the two paradigms of the Foundry—knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer—to develop a prototype of innovative technology that addresses the identified challenge (Arce et al., 2015). This program was anchored in a sustainable model via which the first cohort was trained through mentorship and professional development to create such campus events, specifically those promoting understanding of diversity and multicultural awareness within STEM. From these trainings and connections, students were able to engage in various STEM outreach activities, including STEM4ALL, departmental student activities, events from the Multicultural Center on campus, Race and Diversity lecture series, and other opportunities that might not have otherwise been initially in their purview. We will review details related to the program strategy and implementation as well as offer observations of numerous aspects that helped students to achieve their goals. Opportunity for future efforts will also be outlined.
Arce-Trigatti, A., & Jorgensen, S., & Sanders, R., & Arce, P. E. (2021, July), Featuring Silenced Perspectives in STEM: Supporting Multicultural and Diversity Leadership Through the STEM Foundry Heritage Fellows Program Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37189
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