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Using an Ecological-Belonging Intervention to Foster Equity in College STEM Courses: Dr. Kevin Binning

Friday, March 19, 2021 - 3:30pm
Psychological and Brain Sciences Building

"Using an Ecological-Belonging Intervention to Foster Equity in College STEM Courses"

A lecture by Kevin Binning, PhD (Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh)

When intellectual stereotypes are “in the air,” they can interfere with students’ learning and performance. In this talk, I will report the results of a series of experiments designed to establish social norms that make stereotypes irrelevant in college STEM classrooms.

At the beginning of the term, classrooms that were randomly assigned to an ecological-belonging intervention engaged in discussion with peers around the message that social and academic adversity is normative and that students generally overcome such adversity. The intervention aimed to change the way students interpret social and academic difficulties, making them see both their own and their peers’ adversity as normal and surmountable.

I will review a series of experiments involving ~3000 students at two universities that have tested the intervention's effect on student outcomes, including grades, attendance, and retention. Results generally support the intervention's effectiveness, but with some important caveats. Together, the studies highlight barriers and possible solutions to fostering equity in college STEM classrooms.

A College of Liberal Arts Theme Year Event

Learn more about the 2020-21 CLAS Theme Year: Pursuing Racial Justice at the University of Iowa