Two overlapping circles with EIC inside. Equity, Inclusion, Cookies on top. CU Physics on bottom.

Next Event!

2020-2021

The overwhelming request from our last event ‘Understanding privilege in physics’ was for more time for discussion around questions like:

  • What is privilege?
  • Does privilege exist in the world of physics?
  • Do I have privileges?
  • And if I do……how can I use them to make our department more equitable and inclusive?

As a result, we are hosting a follow up discussion event. If helpful, slides from the original event are here. We will begin with a very brief recap, so feel free to join, whether you attended the original event or not!

Email EIC@colorado.edu if you do not already have the Zoom link.

Presentation slides

Feedback survey

 

What is privilege? Does privilege exist in the world of physics? Do I have privileges? And if I do……how can I use them to make our department more equitable and inclusive?

If any of these questions caught your attention, please join our facilitated discussion! Email EIC@colorado.edu if you do not already have the Zoom link. 

Presentation slides

Feedback survey

 

Interested in Equity, Diversity, AND Physics? Wondering about the diversity and equity work that is happening at JILA and in the CU physics department right now? Want to get involved? This meeting is for you! We will have brief presentations from 9 different groups and time for questions, all in 45 minutes.

Presentation slides

Fostering Physics Identities: The Importance of Counternarratives and Counterspaces within Physics Communities

Zahra Hazari

Disciplinary identity theories have been widely utilized to examine engagement and persistence in STEM fields, particularly for fostering equity/inclusivity for underrepresented groups.  More specific to physics, students’ physics-related career choices have been found to be strongly predicted by conceptualizations of physics identity that include students’ perceptions of recognition, interest, performance/competence, and sense of belonging in physics.  One important use of these theories is to interrogate physics programs and the community culture with respect to their efficacy in supporting these aspects of how students see themselves.  In addition, research has shown that counternarratives and counterspaces are critical for fostering the physics identities of students from underrepresented groups. This presentation will discuss some of the research as well as strategies that can help support the creation of equitable/inclusive physics environments that foster physics identity construction.   

Zahra Hazari is a Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning and the STEM Transformation Institute as well as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics at Florida International University.   She holds a B.S. in physics and mathematics, M.S. in physics, and Ph.D. in physics education.  Her doctoral and postdoctoral work were at the University of Toronto and the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  Dr. Hazari’s research focuses on reforming physics learning environments in an effort to improve critical educational outcomes for underrepresented groups in physics, especially women. In particular, her work centers on physics identity development, a framework which has provided critical insight on students’ persistence in physics. This work has led to her being elected a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and earned her a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Her work has been featured in US News and World Report, Washington Monthly, Science Magazine, Scientific American, LiveScience, Science for the People, and APS News. She has served on multiple Editorial Boards, APS’s Committee for the Status of Women in Physics, and AAPT's Committee on Women in Physics.

Presentation slides

Feedback survey

The last five months have seen an intense focus on the experiences of Black people in America.  Much of the discussion has revolved around the idea of systemic racism, which refers to ways that the “system” creates and perpetuates racial inequities.  In this event, we will explore the concept of systemic racism, see how it may be relevant to our physics department, and how we can use this knowledge to achieve a more equitable and inclusive department.

Presentation slides

Document with examples & data

Feedback survey

2019-2020

The #shutdownSTEM and #strike4blacklives movements are a call for non-Black academics to spend the day engaging in reflection, organization, and action toward eradicating anti-Black racism in STEM and academia, while Black academics take time for healing and prioritizing their needs. EIC will be hosting a Zoom discussion event on June 10th 2:30-3:45pm. The discussion will be a follow-up to our March 5th event on addressing underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy, where we discussed the findings and recommendations of the recent report written by the AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP). The goal of our discussion will be to create a concrete list of actions that we, as individuals and as a department, can and will take to recruit and support Black students and eradicate anti-Black racism more broadly. This will be a first step in what will be an ongoing conversation. We ask that prior to the discussion you review the slides from the March 5th event and read the executive summary of the TEAM-UP report (pages 10-17). Participation in the discussion tomorrow does NOT require you to have attended the March event. 

Our discussion will begin from the premise that racism, and more specifically anti-Black racism, is systemic and it exists everywhere, including in our department. We need to take intentional and direct action to be anti-racist. This is aligned with one of the organizing principles of EIC, which reads:

There is no such thing as passive equity or passive inclusivity. If we do not intentionally work to make ourselves and our institutions equitable and inclusive, then we will remain inequitable and exclusive. (read the full mission & principles)

Our discussion will thus focus on actionable items that we can take individually and collectively.

Presentation materials

Collaborative notes document

Summary of event discussions

An AIP national task force (TEAM-UP) recently released a report titled, “The Time is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor's Degrees in Physics and Astronomy.” The report calls on the physics community to double the number of bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy awarded to African Americans by 2030. At this event, we will summarize the key findings and recommendations of the report, and then engage in small group discussion about how our department can work towards implementing the recommendations of the report.

Presentation materials

Feedback survey

We all have multiple intersecting identities. Intersectionality is a specific concept that describes the cumulative and interdependent forms of discrimination or disadvantage experienced by people with multiple marginalized identities. In this event, we will use a case study [1] to explore this concept and its applications in our department and university. 

[1] Case studies in equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education: An intersectional perspective, edited by E. Sandoval-Lucero and J. B. Maes (Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, 2019) (the book is also available at the CU library)

Feedback survey

Presentation materials

The notion of meritocracy—that success is purely a result of hard work and talent—is embedded in our society. For example, the American dream envisions a society where upward social mobility is a result of hard work, e.g., “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”. Yet reality suggests that many factors other than hard work and talent contribute to success (or lack thereof). In this event, we will consider the extent to which a meritocracy is an accurate description of our department, university, and the broader education system, and examine the consequences of assuming we work in a perfect meritocracy. We will reflect on how this impacts our roles in the physics department, and, since the assumption of a perfect meritocracy may be flawed, discuss adjustments we can make to improve the systems in which we work and live.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

The physics department strives to be a welcoming, diverse, and collaborative community. Faculty in the department play a key role in attaining this goal. However, traditional faculty searches often fall victim to a variety of limitations and biases, which can impede our ability to create a diverse and welcoming community. Building on ideas presented in Stefanie Johnson’s recent colloquium, “Breaking Bias,” we will discuss a recent faculty search by the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences department that used specific practices to mitigate bias and improve the diversity of the department. The chair of that search committee, Jason Glenn, will present details of the search and the lessons learned. We will discuss how we can adapt these, and other, practices to make faculty searches in the physics department more equitable.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

2018-2019

“Ally” and “allyship” are often used to describe the work of anti-racism activists and to demonstrate their commitment to ending racism and oppression. Effective allyship, however, must be rooted in the values and theories of anti-oppression, and understood as a practice rather than an identity. In this event, we will examine anti-oppression theory and allyship practice through an anti-racism lens, focusing on common errors or pitfalls often encountered along the journey towards allyship.

Though this event is the second in a two-part series, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, even if they were not at the first event. Slides from the first event on this series can be accessed below under "Allyship: Practice and Pitfalls, Part 1" 

Regan Byrd is an award-winning community activist and non-profit professional with over 11 years of experience in grassroots and social justice non-profit organizations.  She has been named a “Woman to Watch” by the Denver League of Women Voters, and is the winner of the 2015 Lilly Ledbetter award from 9to5 Colorado.

Regan Byrd's full bio

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

“Ally” and “allyship” are often used to describe the work of anti-racist activists and to demonstrate their commitment to ending racism and oppression. Effective allyship, however, must be rooted in the values and theories of anti-oppression, and understood as a practice rather than an identity. In this two-event training series we will examine anti-oppression theory and allyship practice through an anti-racism lens. Event 1 will discuss a model for understanding both oppression and allyship; Event 2 will discuss common errors or pitfalls that many working towards allyship fall into during the course of their journey.

Event 1: Thursday, April 4th, 2-3:30pm

Event 2: Thursday, April 11th 2-3:30pm

Though this is a two part event, people are encouraged to come to either or both as they are able!

Regan Byrd is an award-winning community activist and non-profit professional with over 11 years of experience in grassroots and social justice non-profit organizations.  She has been named a “Woman to Watch” by the Denver League of Women Voters, and is the winner of the 2015 Lilly Ledbetter award from 9to5 Colorado.

Regan Byrd's full bio

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

“I don’t see color.” “Race shouldn’t matter.” The term “colorblindness” refers to attempts to treat all people equally by ignoring their race. However well-intentioned this approach may be, we know that race does in fact impact people’s experiences and opportunities on both institutional and interpersonal levels. At this event, we will discuss how colorblindness can be harmful, how it is relevant to physics, and how alternatives to colorblindness can help promote equity.

Presentation materials

Feedback survey

Where did you learn how to reflect on your own learning? Has thinking about your own thinking become second nature? For many students, often including those from underrepresented groups and nontraditional backgrounds, this is not the case. Teachers, mentors, and advisors want to help students do well in their courses, but sometimes the help provided isn’t matched with success. In this event, we will introduce metacognitive strategies based on the work of Dr. Sandra McGuire that help students become aware of their learning processes and discuss how teaching metacognition can work towards equity. 

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

Have you ever felt that your success was not a reflection of your skills and abilities?  Do you sometimes think that your accomplishments can just be explained by luck? Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which one has a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Most people in and around academia experience this at some point. In this event we will talk about how impostor syndrome is related to equity and inclusion, and identify ways, as individuals or as a department, that we can mitigate its effects.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

The goal of a university should be to provide for the development of all participants, and mentorship is a critical part of meeting that goal. Mentoring occurs in many areas of the physics department: between faculty and students in a research setting, between two students in an academic setting, etc. Research has shown that underrepresented groups tend to benefit more from mentoring and yet receive it less. This event will explore the concept of inclusive mentoring and how we can work towards it in the physics department.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

What is mentorship? In what contexts does it occur? What are the ingredients of a constructive and beneficial mentor-mentee relationship? In this event, we will explore the idea of mentorship and discuss these questions in the context of a diverse physics department. Because mentorship takes many different forms, input from students, staff, post docs, and faculty is essential for a productive discussion. The ideas generated in this discussion will also inform our next event, where we will discuss concrete steps that the department can take towards making mentorship more inclusive.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

2017-2018

Do you need to be a genius to receive the MacArthur “genius” grant or the Nobel prize? Does being a top scholar of physics require a special aptitude that just can’t be taught? In this event, we’ll examine the concepts of fixed and growth mindsets and how these ways of thinking affect both individual development and the culture of physics.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

Whether we like it or not, we all have biases. We make unconscious, automatic associations about people that can lead us to unintentionally discriminate and create a less inclusive environment. In this event, we will first define and discuss implicit bias and explore the role it plays in our everyday interactions. Then, we will brainstorm what we can do—as individuals and as a community—to minimize and counteract implicit biases and their consequences on the individual, structural, and cultural levels.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

Presented by Scarlet Bowen and Morgan Seamont of the Gender and Sexuality Center

This training will help to provide participants with the skills to create inclusive learning and work environments for people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.  We will cover topics such as campus climate, campus resources, the spectrum of sex, gender, and sexual orientation and relationships, as well as how these identities intersect with other facets of identity such as race, religion, and nationality. All are welcome to participate. Those completing the training receive a Safe Zone sign for their office to signify that they provide an inclusive space for people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. 

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

We all have implicit biases, whether we realize it or not, and sometimes we express those biases without being aware of the impact that we may have on others. In this event, we will recognize and examine how our language and actions can have the unintended result of making environments harmful and exclusive. Participants will discuss these situations and think about how to disrupt or respond to them. By examining the ways that others may be affected by what we say and do, even when we mean no harm, we can build empathy and work towards a more inclusive environment.

Presentation Materials

Handout

Feedback Survey

What is the role of graduate admissions, and is it fulfilling that role?  In this event, we will investigate current admissions practices, both nationally and within the CU physics department, and evaluate whether these practices select for students who can be successful physicists and in what ways they are, or are not, equitable and inclusive. We will work to define our goals for an equitable and inclusive admissions process and devise methods to obtain those goals.  We welcome all members of the department to participate in this discussion.

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey

Additional Materials:

Council of Graduate Schools report "Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions"

Sedlacek article: Why We Should Use Noncognitive Variables With Graduate and Professional Students

Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun, "A test that fails", Nature 510, 303 (2014) doi:10.1038/nj7504-303a

Keivan G. Stassun, Susan Sturm, Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, Arnold Burger, David J. Ernst, and Donna Webb, "The Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program: Recognizing, enlisting, and cultivating unrealized or unrecognized potential in underrepresented minority students", American Journal of Physics 79, 374 (2011); doi: 10.1119/1.3546069

Klieger, D. M., Cline, F. A., Holtzman, S. L., Minsky, J. L. and Lorenz, F. (2014), New Perspectives on the Validity of the GRE® General Test for Predicting Graduate School Grades. ETS Research Report Series, 2014: 1–62. doi:10.1002/ets2.12026

Join us on the #grad-admissions Slack channel for continued discussion about this event! If you are not a member of our Slack group, please email EIC@colorado.edu for an invite. 

When you look around the physics department, who do you see?  Who’s over-represented, and who’s under-represented? Do power and privilege play a part?

EIC is a monthly series of 90-minute guided discussion (over coffee and cookies) about issues related to equity and inclusion in physics, providing an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to contribute to important conversations about our departmental community. To kick off the year, we will define and discuss power and privilege, which are the themes for this semester’s events and are fundamental concepts for understanding issues of equity and inclusion. All are welcome!

Presentation Materials

Feedback Survey 

Join us on the Slack channel for continued discussion about this event! If you are not a member, please email EIC@colorado.edu for an invite. 

2016-2017

“White men can’t jump,” “dads can’t change a diaper,” “women aren’t good at math,” “Asians can’t drive.” Stereotypes are everywhere, and they have consequences. Stereotype threat describes the situation in which there is a negative stereotype about a persons’ group, and he or she is concerned about being judged or treated negatively on the basis of this stereotype. Ironically, this extra pressure can undermine the individual, leading them to confirm the negative stereotype. This ultimately can make it more difficult for negatively stereotyped people to succeed.

This interactive, discussion-based presentation will define stereotype threat and discuss its origins, consequences, mechanisms, and potential solutions. Come join us as we learn about how stereotype threat impacts how we all learn and work in the physics department.

Presentation Materials

Have you ever felt like you weren’t supposed to be where you were despite your skill and abilities? Have you ever wondered how to support other people who feel this way?

At this event, Lilyana Ortega and Pilar Prostko from the CU Dialogues program will be leading a discussion on imposter syndrome as it pertains to people in STEM fields. After a brief presentation on what imposter syndrome is, the group will divide into student and non-student subgroups in which participants will have the opportunity to share their perceptions and experiences with others in their subgroup. The goal of this dialogue is to hear and learn from the multiple perspectives that we bring to the table so that we can be better at managing imposter syndrome in our own lives and those of our students, friends, and colleagues.

Presentation Materials

Dialogue Facilitation

This talk will examine inclusivity by considering individual experiences of acceptance, fit, and belonging within physics classes. I will discuss the basic concept of belonging, and research we have done to examine gender differences in belonging within physics classes. These studies also show how belonging relates to academic performance and persistence. I will also consider ways to increase inclusivity by facilitating belonging.

Publications related to presentation:

The Effects of Gender Composition on Women's Experience in Math Work Groups

Fitting in to Move Forward: Belonging, Gender, and Persistence in the Physical Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (pSTEM)

Talking about difference is not easy, but it is a necessary part of the change process. What does it mean to be the ‘other’ or to mark someone as such? How do we all create the ‘other’ in our everyday choices and what power lies in recognizing our own ‘other-ness’? Utilizing various theater techniques, Ms. Roberts invites participants to explore the significance of the “us vs. them” dynamic in the work of identity construction. Participants will be introduced to key vocabulary, themes, and skills in an effort to equip them with tools to keep the dialogues going.

Slides

Handout

Sample Facilitation Plan

Implicit Bias FAQs

Have you wondered how you can help to make the CU physics department a more welcoming place for your LGBTQ+ students, classmates, labmates, colleagues and more? Come to the kick-off discussion for the monthly Equity, Inclusion, and Cookies series to learn and discuss!

Faculty, students, post-docs, staff – all are welcome!

Presentation Materials