Tulane Freshmen Seminar Course:
Women in STEM: Breaking down barriers.
I am teaching a seminar course on Women in STEM. All Tulane students are required to take a 1 credit seminar course in their first semester. There are some prescribed topics that must be covered, e.g. good study habits, joining on-campus clubs, building meaningful relationships, maintaining physical and mental health... Each prof weaves those topics in with a seminar topic of their own choice. The class is once a week, for 75 minutes.
I am teaching this course for the first time in Fall 2019. Here I am providing a few details on readings and what we are covering in case others want to use it. I have gotten many readings from Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin's twitter posts (@McLNeuro) & Dr. Donata Henry (Tulane Prof), and readings and guidance on how to incorporate building Wikipedia pages into my class from Dr. Rebecca Barnes (@waterbarnes). Dr. Barnes' website has helped me a lot with the Wikipedia assignment. This class would not be possible with my supportive colleagues.
Some classes might seem like we did too much and some might seem like we didn't do that much. This is because of some odd things about the requirements and set-up of the class. Mostly use this for ideas. The syllabus is here.
Woven into the class are WiS (Women in STEM) speakers. These are mostly local scientists, but some electronically visit us, taking ~20 minutes to tell us a bit about themself, and anything inspiring or difficult or career changing or regular day stuff that they want to talk about. I want my students to see that there is no one way to be a WiS.
Ice Breaker: Have students think of as many women scientists as they can in 1 minute. Have them share with their neighbor. Do they have overlap? Go around the groups having them supply one name and talk about each scientist as you go. How many are women of color? Are any disabled? How much do you know about these women?
I introduce myself, including something about what I was like at their age, how I became a geomorphologist, my mentors through undergrad, grad school and post-doc (all male), and what my work life is like now.
Discuss why we need this class. Present some words/terms to know: equity, gender pay gap, diversity, inclusion, minority, minoritized, marginalized, bias, sexism, racism, ableism, classism, decolonizing science, bullying.
Watch and discuss Sarah Myhre's TEDx talk: Take your humanity with you.
Introduce Wikipedia page project. Groups of students will be creating a new Wikipedia page for a woman in STEM.
Discuss two articles:
Ben Barres' Nature commentary "Does Gender Matter?" (2006).
Joan Williams' Harvard Business Review article "The 5 Biases Pushing Women Out of STEM" (2015).
Guest speaker on creating Wikipedia pages. (In our case this is someone on campus who regularly runs Wikipedia workshops.)
Before class students are asked to read Katharine Sanderson's Chemical and Engineering News article "Where are Wikipedia's women scientists?" (2018).
Students should also have created a Wikipedia account and user page.
First WiS speaker. Some discussion on finding a scientist to create a Wikipedia page on. Discuss two readings.
Joan Williams' and Kate Massinger's The Atlantic article "How Women are Harassed out of Science" (2016).
Alexandra Witze's Nature story "Sexual harassment is rife in the sciences, finds landmark US study" (2018).
One Love Workshop on identifying abusive relationships and building healthy relationships.
Classes 6 - 12:
In these classes will discuss Angela Saini's book Inferior. We will also have a number of WiS speakers and speakers introducing the students to Tulane's Newcomb Institute.
Some links that I might use later.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvGReESt1lI - Take your humanity with you, Sarah Myhre
https://speakingofgeoscience.org/2018/08/29/a-special-place-in-hell/ Kelly Kryc
https://livestream.com/accounts/7595903/events/8386539 - Women Rising Pardee Session, GSA 2018
https://www.pnas.org/content/108/8/3157/tab-article-info - Ceci & Williams, Women underrepresented in STEM
https://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360 - Williams & Ceci, Hiring Women in STEM
http://sites.nationalacademies.org/shstudy/index.htm - National Academies Harassment Report
https://vimeo.com/286214085 - video on mental health and grad school, Susanna Harris