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Session Description: Teaching ecology courses as neutral and unbiased artificially decontextualizes the practice and field of ecology and situates inequity and social justice as irrelevant. However, changing how we teach about and practice ecology can, instead, create a space that engages with and works to address inequity and promote social justice. However, even when instructors want to change how they teach, there is little guidance that exists about how to improve ecology education. Participants in this session will engage with current literature about instructor beliefs regarding their ability to transform science curricula from false neutrality to embracing equity and social justice. Then, they will engage in small and large group discussions about how to apply this material to their own contexts, with the end goals of building pathways that facilitate transformation. Participants can expect to be able to: a) use research-based evidence to help identify likely barriers and catalysts in their own learning environments, and b) identify potential pathways and supports for change. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge to their own teaching and learning environments by using research-based evidence to help identify likely barriers and catalysts to change and identifying potential pathways and supports for change.
This session is led by two STEM education researchers and instructors with experience teaching equity and social justice content in STEM, collaborating with other STEM faculty in enacting social justice and equity content in their courses, and researching student responses to these reformed. This session will use a range of active learning techniques including the following. A) an interrupted-lecture style introduction, which provides background research to participants while engaging them in individual reflection and writing and pair discussions about their responses. B) In-depth breakout room discussions that involve synthesizing responses on Google Slides. C) Large-group discussions with share-outs from breakout rooms and synthesis of Google Slides to create a collective group of holistic strategies to help engage STEM faculty in integrating equity and social justice in their courses. Participants will have the option to join an email list with other short course participants, where they can continue these discussions and create a learning community focused on enacting change. This session is open to anyone who is interested in building more equitable ecology education and teaching practices, with a particular focus on those who currently teach or plan to teach in any format or level, including undergraduate, graduate, K-12, and informal education.