Leveraging Networks

  • Inclusion is enhanced when other aspects of campus life designed for student success are more explicitly connected to the classroom content.
  • Living learning communities, and curricular communities are existing models that example how to connect these services.
  • The Meyerhoff Scholars program at UMBC provides a model for integrating community-building across students’ campus experience to increase students’ development of science identity, retention in STEM disciplines, and successful progress in STEM careers.

Dadgar, M., Nodine, T., Bracco, K.R. & Venezia, A. (2014). Strategies for integrating student supports and academics. New Directions for Community Colleges 167, 41-51. In this book chapter the authors discuss the rationale and strategies for explicitly connecting student services and the pedagogy of the classroom. A powerful case is made here addressing the default approach where students are expected to navigate to existing, disparately located services on their own. This ‘if we build it they will come’ approach disadvantages historically disenfranchised students as it assumes they possess the tools to navigate toward the correct resources. Additionally, services operating in siloes are perceived as such, leaving students clueless on the potential link between those services and their academic success. The authors detail the results of a literature review and reports from the field on best practices for integrating student success and academic services. Four key strategies emerge from their work. First, campuses can consider more explicit embedding of student success services within the department infrastructure and/or in the classrooms. These include tutoring, academic coaching, and other services of this nature. Second, an integrated student success center can go a long way toward demonstrating the connection between student services and learning in the classroom. These centers are more likely to achieve that purpose if co-designed with instructional faculty. Third, robust Freshman Year Experience (FYE) courses are fertile ground for developing curricula that explicitly integrate learning content and the skills needed to make that happen. Fourth, improved technology, especially as it pertains to early alert software can provide authentic connections between classroom instructors and support services. The authors recommend that those interested in this type of redesign build on existing collaborations, strengthen the collaboration between students and faculty (to better understand their needs), and begin my integrating professional development opportunities with instruction.

Inkelas, K.K., Daver, Z.E., Vogt, K.E. & Leonard, J.B. (2007). Living–learning programs and first-generation college students’ academic and social transition to college. Research in Higher Education 48, 403-434. This study looked at the effect of Living Learning (L/L) communities across a variety of institutions on the transition of First Generation (FG) college students. The explicit focus on FG students was due to the sobering statistics associated with their transition to college and low retention rate. The authors review the many studies that show the transformative effect that even having one parent with a bachelor degree can have on the academic outcomes of students. L/L communities were developed to connect various explicit but separate services available on campus pertaining to academics, social enrichment, and residential life. Programming around L/L connected faculty mentors to residential activities, and residential life events were designed to connect to classroom instruction. In this multi-institution study, the authors compared 651 L/L students and 684 students who did not participate in L/Ls across 34 campuses. The results showed that FG students perceived an easier transition to college’s academic and social life when compared to students who were not in an L/L. It was particularly interesting that strong high school GPA was not predictive of an ease of transition for FG students, suggesting that even after doing the hard work of gaining access, social factors associated with transition were still more impactful on the experience. The study speaks to the importance of college programming that is cognizant not just of connecting different types of experiences on university campuses, but their particular importance for groups with a history of identity contingencies.

Levine, J.H. & Shapiro, N.S. (2000). Curricular learning communities. New Directions for Higher Education 109, 13-22. Curricular learning communities (CLC) provide other opportunities for more explicitly tying together campus support services. This article describes several possible approaches campuses can consider depending on their institutional context. The three approaches focused on here are 1) paired or clustered courses, 2) cohorts in large classes and 3) team-taught courses. Clustered courses explicitly connect the curricula of two courses thus demonstrating through the resulting pedagogy the links between concepts from each. Large-class cohorts are typically used at the freshman level, where curricula themes can be defined early, and academic and social development can happen as a group in subsequent semesters. Team-taught courses allow for the same group of students to meaningfully interact with multiple faculty over the time period of a single course. The article also provides meaningful suggestions for the integration of commuter students into curricular learning communities. These include the pedagogical strategies of 1) collaborative learning, 2) writing across the curriculum, 3) integrated studies courses, and 4) experiential learning. Additionally, using former CLC students as tutors and peer advisors, the sense of community within the curriculum is enhanced and extended.

Mack, K.M. & Winter, K. (2016). Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES): STEM faculty professional development for self-efficacy. In Weaver, G.C., Burgess, W.D., Childress, A.L., and Slakey, L. (Eds.Transforming Institutions: 21st Century Undergraduate STEM Education. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. The AAC&U runs a program that provides training, support and resources for instructors willing to commit to transforming their pedagogy toward inclusion. This article describes the conception, implementation process, and some assessment of TIDES, the AAC&U’s flagship program to help instructors develop inclusive classrooms. TIDES asks instructors to first reflect on the target transformation course, and then receive professional development onsite around inclusive practices. Participant feedback from the program suggest that instructors strongly benefited from both the technical support, but also the network that was formed as a result.

Maton, K.I., Beason, T.S., Godsay, S., Sto. Domingo, M.R., Bailey, T.C., Sun, S, & Hrabowski, F.A. (2016). Outcomes and processes in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program: STEM PhD completion, sense of community, perceived program benefit, science identity, and research-self-efficacy. CBE–Life Sciences Education 15: ar48, 1-11. [Author abstract] Previous research has shown that the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is an effective intervention for high-achieving underrepresented minority (URM) students; African-American Meyerhoff students are significantly more likely to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PhD programs than comparison students. The first of two studies in this report extends the prior research by examining levels of PhD completion for Meyerhoff (N = 479) versus comparison sample (N = 249) students among the first 16 cohorts. Entering African-American Meyerhoff students were 4.8 times more likely to complete STEM PhDs than comparison sample students. To enhance understanding of potential mechanisms of influence, the second study used data from the 22nd (Fall 2010) to 25th (Fall 2013) cohorts (N = 109) to test the hypothesis that perceived program benefit at the end of freshman year would mediate the relationship between sense of community at the end of Summer Bridge and science identity and research self-efficacy at the end of sophomore year. Study 2 results indicated that perceived program benefit fully mediated the relationship between sense of community and both criterion measures. The findings underscore the potential of comprehensive STEM intervention programs to enhance PhD completion, and suggest mechanisms of influence.


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Cite this guide: Dewsbury B, Brame CJ. (2019) Evidence Based Teaching Guide: Inclusive Teaching. CBE Life Science Education. Retrieved from https://lse.ascb.org/evidence-based-teaching-guides/inclusive-teaching/
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