Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) will be joining a group of 103 higher education institutions across the country that will explore ways to promote diversity and inclusiveness in STEM education. The initiative is funded by a $60 million, six-year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) program. The institutions have been organized into seven “learning community clusters” that will each address a different challenge, such as making the introductory science experience more inclusive, evaluating inclusive teaching practices, and establishing partnerships between two- and four-year colleges to provide a more inclusive experience for transfer students.
GGC will receive nearly $500,000 from the grant, which it will use to investigate the impact of inclusive teaching practices and meaningful evaluation of these practices, with the aim of increasing student retention. The research will be focused on GGC’s School of Science & Technology as a model for inclusive excellence, and will involve professional development and training for faculty, identification of tools to measure and evaluate inclusive teaching, and policy changes to reward inclusive teaching practices.
The research team at GGC, led by biology professor Dr. Allison D’Costa, will draw on the expertise of faculty at the 15 institutions in their learning community cluster. The team will also create faculty learning communities within the department to conduct research projects, and will share their findings with the learning community cluster and the campus community. The research team includes biology faculty members Dr. Cindy Achat-Mendes, Dr. Latanya Hammonds-Odie, Dr. Clay Runck, and IT faculty member Dr. Sonal Dekhane. GGC President Dr. Jann L. Joseph will provide support for the project’s successful implementation.
“GGC fully supports the efforts of the research team,” said Joseph. “Their work to build on our current institutional efforts and high-impact approaches to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all living and learning spaces is commendable, and we will provide assistance as needed for the project’s successful implementation.”