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TIC Welcomes You! New Graduate Student Orientation Review 2022

The Teaching Innovation Center (TIC) supports instructional design and inclusive pedagogy through using evidence-based practices and the latest research. It also centers on providing resources and support to those already established and in training (e.g., graduate students in the School of Life Sciences or SoLS). TIC recently supported that goal by welcoming 74 incoming graduate students (both master’s and doctoral students) to SoLS early in August for a new student orientation. Most of those students are incoming teaching assistants (TAs) for online and in person undergraduate courses. Those incoming students are the next generation of researchers, instructors, etc. who will shape teaching, learning, and mentorship. The in-person orientation held in Hayden Library was an opportunity for students to network and engage in professional development as new and incoming TAs. For some, it was reported that it would be their first time being a TA, thus this experience was beneficial and pro
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If You Are an LGBTQ+ Instructor, Should You Tell Your Students?

Academic science can be an unwelcoming place for LGBTQ+ individuals, and fewer LGBTQ+ undergraduates persist in STEM than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts . In addition to being underrepresented in STEM, an LGBTQ+ identity is a concealable stigmatized identity , meaning that individuals who hold this identity often have to “come out” in order for others to know that they are part of this community. Because revealing can have a negative impact on one’s career, LGBTQ+ instructors in STEM may hesitate to reveal their identity to students . Past research has shown that students report feeling more positive toward professors who share the same identity as them. Specifically, women and persons excluded because of their ethnicity or race (PEERs) had greater self-efficacy, greater persistence in their major, and a greater sense of belonging when they had instructors that shared their gender or race/ethnicity. The chance for a student to find instructors with similar identities is less commo

How Can We Maximize Student Comfort When Teaching Controversial Topics in Bioethics?

The national report Vision and Change was a blueprint for what should be taught to undergraduate biology students. It outlined a set of core concepts and core competencies that undergraduate biology students should possess by the time they graduate. One of the core competencies is understanding the relationship between science and society and bioethics courses are often used to help teach students this competency. Often, bioethics courses include controversial topics and ethical dilemmas that surround the science, which can be both engaging for students but also can be challenging if they hold minority views about the topic. Despite calls to incorporate bioethics into the undergraduate curriculum, no studies have examined undergraduate student experiences and comfort in bioethics courses based on their identities that may be relevant to these discussions. However, a recent study has tackled this issue by exploring student experiences learning about three controversial topics in bio

How Can We Make Online Undergraduate Science Courses More Inclusive for Students with Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among college students, and it is especially common among groups that are underrepresented or underserved in science, such as women, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities. Previous studies have found that the unwelcoming and competitive nature of science courses may worsen students’ depression. However, little is known about how online science learning environments impact students’ depression. Because online learning environments are becoming increasingly common, a recent study set out to understand which aspects of online science environments exacerbate and alleviate students’ depression, both generally and among students with specific demographics. Here are some of the primary findings: Specific groups of students were more likely to report experiencing depression than other groups of students. Researchers found that approximately 54% of students reported experiencing depression.However, white students, women, LGB

How Can We Make Undergraduate Research More Inclusive For Students With Disabilities?

Individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in undergraduate science and in science careers. While it is becoming increasingly clear that students with disabilities experience unique challenges in undergraduate science classrooms, little is known about the experiences of students with disabilities in undergraduate research. However, a recent national study has begun to shed light on the experiences of students with disabilities in research.  Here are some of the main takeaways: Science students with disabilities are underrepresented in undergraduate research Researchers found that 12% of undergraduate researchers that were surveyed self-identified as having a disability, which is lower than the percentage of undergraduate science students with disabilities, indicating that undergraduate science students with disabilities are not participating in undergraduate research at the same rate. Students with disabilities tended to describe their functional limitations in research, but di