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In Event: Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Equity: Exploring the Transformative Potential of Assessment
We use qualitative methods to assess what institutional factors contribute to the process of scaling up curricular interventions that create more equity in STEM environments. Creating equity in STEM learning and professional environments has important implications for increasing STEM graduation rates and creating a more just and robust society (Baillie, Pawley, & Riley, 2012). Enhancing equity is a persistent and complicated challenge requiring a variety of complementary approaches to make progress. P4E-STEM is a newly formed partnership funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to use experimental curricula to develop professional inclusive identities among engineering and computer science students. Our aim is for students to learn how knowledge and skills about technical STEM content, combined with knowledge and skills about equity, contribute to a more just and robust society (Authors, 2015). In our presentation, we share a set of preliminary findings specifically focused on building the partnership as we move from a pilot program in a few engineering courses at one institution to a true partnership involving multiple departments and majors at 4 institutions. During the first year of our study, we scale up experimental curricula from Colorado State University (where faculty have piloted these interventions for the past two years) to the University of Denver and West Virginia University. In year 2, we will also include a fourth institution that has yet to be named.
2. Perspective or theoretical framework
We leverage cultural-historical activity theory as a framework for assessing how different institutional contexts and cultures enable or constrain the process of scaling up experimental curricula.
3. Methods, techniques
The following research question guides our project: What factors benefit or constrain the process of scaling up curricular interventions related to diversity and inclusion? To address this inquiry, we collect qualitative data from June 2017 - June 2018 that help us assess institutional contexts and cultural practices which may bolster or undermine how organizations approach equity. Data analyses leverage top-down and bottom-up code applications to generate themes that emerge from extant scholarship and data (Erickson, 2004; Sipe & Ghiso, 2004).
4. Data Sources
Data sources consist of video record transcripts from meetings, email messages, and journal entries that document the intricacies of scaling up interventions at each institution.
Preliminary results suggest that successful scale up of curricular interventions include financial and human resources support from administrative leadership, while institutional constraints include lack of interest in professional development, lack of administrative support, and conflicting philosophies about diversity, inclusion, and equity. By addressing these questions, our project makes unique contributions to scholarship due to its focus on assessment, equity and qualitative methodological approaches.