September 29, 2020

I’d like to highlight the “Striving for Racial Justice in Academic Biology” seven-part webinar series sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). This educational webinar series is intended to further efforts to make academia and STEM education more inclusive and anti-racist, and the topics are aligned with many of the current efforts of our own Department Committees on Diversity and Inclusion. The webinars are free to attend (no registration required) and are all being recorded, with the recordings freely available at the above URL. The full poster is given below. 

As we are about mid-way through the series, I encourage everyone to watch the recordings of those events that have already happened, and to tune into the upcoming events. To briefly highlight a few of the sessions, the most recently recorded webinar featured Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Rhode Island, talking about ways in which academics can promote inclusive education through the authentic transformation of their classrooms and institutions. He outlined four key elements for this transformation process: 1) write out a vision (either for your own teaching or institutionally), 2) be prepared to learn, 3) strategize by identifying a few specific things to implement in your own teaching or institutional work, and 4) measure the impact of your work. He emphasized the importance of having a community for support and the need to remain humble, recognizing that we’re all going to make mistakes and that we need to remain focused on the bigger picture and the common goals towards which we’re all working. 

The next event, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 pm ET, is “Language matters: Considering racial microaggressions in science,” presented by Dr. Colin Harrison of Georgia Tech and Dr. Kimberly Tanner of San Francisco State University. It is going to be an interactive session with group discussion and practical take-aways that participants will be able to apply in their own communities. On a personal note, my own teaching philosophy and interest in inclusive pedagogy have been heavily influenced by the scholarship of both Dr. Dewsbury and Dr. Tanner. I can’t speak highly enough of their work.