Spring 2021 Speaker Series: An Inside Out Approach to Equity in STEM
The Philadelphia Regional Institute for STEM Educators (PRISE) is hosting a speaker and panel series titled: An Inside-Out Approach to Equity in STEM. We are taking a systems view of examining how individual identity and organizational culture contribute to activities and impacts which are grounded in producing equitable outcomes for STEM learners. We call this an Inside-Out approach because this ultimately is about Cultural Proficiency which, according to Randall Lindsey is “to be applied to both organizational practices and individual behavior” (Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders 4th ed., 2019). Over the three sessions we have assembled an impressive line-up of contributors from the Philadelphia region that represent K-12, higher education, and organizations that support STEM education. During each session, one of the speakers will give an overview of the topic at hand and then will join a panel that will be moderated by Muriel Fox Alim from the National Math and Science Initiative. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A period at the end. Although each session stands alone, it is recommended that you attend all three to experience the full impact of the series.
The Three Sessions
Session 1: April 6 – My Identity Informing My Practice In her 2019 book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Jennifer Eberhardt noted when discussing perceptions of self and others in the workplace that, “How you are seen may affect how you are heard.” The panelist will explore responses to the questions:
- How do I view myself, my actions, and my motivations as a STEM professional when dealing with issues of race and equity?
- What kind of STEM educator am I?
- As a STEM educator, how does my identity inform my teaching/practice?
Session 2: April 20 – My Organization’s Culture Building on the idea that interactions between individuals are shaped by their perceptions of themselves and how they view others, we move on to explore how our schools and institutions create conditions in which those relationships are shaped. Tracey Benson and Sarah Fiarman in Unconscious Bias in Schools: A developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism (2020) issue the challenge to “(M)ove beyond the typical ‘culture of nice’ in schools to reach a ‘culture of brave’.” For this exploration, the panelists will respond to questions such as:
- How do my organization’s policies and practices demonstrate what we believe about issues of race and equity in STEM education?
- How does my institution impact STEM student success?
- What widely held institutional beliefs impact STEM student success?
Session 3: May 4 – My Institutional Impact A precondition for collective impact is an agreement that cooperating organizations share a common agenda that “includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it” (https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact). Organizations together may believe their work on issues dealing with race and equity is converging while they are actually on parallel tracks. As our final exploration delves into impact and influence, the panelists will respond to the questions:
- How can my organization influence our collective approach to equity and racial issues in STEM education?
- What intentional impact is my school/organization having on ecosystem actions with regard to race, equity, and STEM?
- What role can my institution play in our collective approach to STEM student success?