TOPIC 5: Equity & Cultural Competency

Monday, July 25th9:00 am – 12:30 pm

Moderator: Monica Foust


  • Lisa Flores, Professor, Educational, School & Counseling Psychology, College of Education, University of Missouri
  • Christy Byrd, Assistant Professor, Coordinator, Educational Equity Program Area of Study, College of Education, NC State University

Occupations encompassing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have influenced many aspects of society and continue to grow in the labor markets. While the growth in STEM fields is apparent, a history of systemic oppression has limited the access marginalized groups have to enter and maintain careers in STEM fields. This presentation will highlight key elements that support the STEM career pathways among students of color. Drawing on interviews conducted with students in STEM disciplines, the presentation will provide faculty with ideas on both individual and systemic practices that can support students from underrepresented groups to pursue and persist in STEM fields.

This presentation will review research on school climate and show how students’ cultural backgrounds and racial identities can be assets in building a climate for belonging. Dr. Byrd will present example activities and we’ll work through specific strategies suitable for your courses.


9:009:15Greetings and check-in with Faculty Fellows 
9:1510:00Presentation by Lisa Flores
10:1511:00Presentation by Christy Byrd
11:1512:30Round table discussion with all participants


Dr. Flores will present her work on cultural factors and societal barriers that play role in the pursuit of STEM carriers among women and ethnic minority students, as well as “survival” strategies that these students can employ in STEM environments. Dr. Byrd will talk facilitating student engagement through multicultural education and curricula that is culturally sensitive and relevant to marginalized students. 


  • Cultural factors and societal barriers that play a role in the pursuit of STEM careers among women and ethnic minority students.
  • “Survival” strategies that students can employ in STEM environments. 
  • Developing an engaging curriculum that is culturally responsive.

Key Questions:

  1. What are the different ways colleges (e.g., administrators) can promote a sense of belonging among students? 
  2. How do school and course policies shape students’ experiences and sense of belonging?
  3. How can faculty and administrators include students in the creation and revision of school and course policies?
  4. What does it mean to have an inclusive and culturally competent culrriculum?
  5. How can colleges (faculty/administration/staff) use and arrange physical spaces to support student learning and sense of belonging?
  6. What can colleges do to encourage and support faculty in providing inclusive and culturally competent culrriculum?

Readings for Topic 5:

Gray et al. (2020) – Why Black Adolescents are Vulnerable at School and How Schools can Provide Opportunities to Belong to Fix It

Merisotis & McKee (2006) – A Model of Success: The Model Institutions for Excellence Program’s Decade of Leadership in STEM Education

Tuesday, July 26th 9:00am – 12:30pm

Moderators: Sangeeta Bishop and Monica Foust

Pedagogy Workshop:

Bring your syllabus. On Friday Fellows and Team will continue to reflect on Topic 5 and will participate in a pedagogy workshop facilitated by Institute co-directors Foust & Bishop. Small groups will consider resources and imagine how they might incorporate them into their teaching

Key Questions:

  1. What is something specific that you can do in your course to help dismantle barriers to equity that your students face?
  2. What is something specific that you can do in your field to help dismantle the barriers to equity facing ethnic minority students who pursue STEM careers?
  3. How do your course assignments, materials, and policies promote equity?
  4. In what ways do your course course assignments, materials, and policies fall short of promoting equity?
  5. How do you handle differences in the prior knowledge of content that students bring to your classroom? Give examples.
  6. How can we utilize students’ backgrounds and experiences to contextualize and facilitate learning?
  7. What does it mean to have a culturally responsive curriculum? What does this look like in your subject area?
  8. What is a past experience where you could have benefitted from a greater understanding of what it means to be culturally competent? How would you handle that situation differently?


9:009:15Greetings and check-in with Faculty Fellows 
9:1510:15Discussing key questions
10:3010:45In small groups, choose changes that you can make in your syllabus/course schedule to incorporate different learning strategies.
10:4511:15Discussing syllabi in the large group/wrapping up
11:3012:30Focus group

Readings for Topic 5: