September 24, 2009

Improving faculty understanding of the many ways in which gender effects both teaching and learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classrooms was the focus of the day-long Gender Equity in the Classroom workshop offered by the College of Engineering’s Office for Diversity Programs, held August 19, 2009.

Sponsored by the Engineering Information Foundation, the workshop was facilitated by the Center for Occupational Research and Development’s senior research associate, Ann-Claire Anderson.

The workshop provided STEM faculty, at all levels, with an understanding and training to proactively contribute to the retention and graduation of female students. The workshop included collaborative group activities, presentations of relevant research, pedagogical theories and tips for practical application.

“I think the most important thing that came out of the workshop for many of us was the realization that providing gender equity in the classroom doesn’t mean treating every student the same. It’s more important that every student has the best chance of succeeding,” said James Henry, assistant professor in chemical engineering. “Often this means treating each student as the unique individual they are and playing to their strengths.”

The workshop participants received on-going access to the workshop contents and additional resources for future reference.

“Discussing gender equity issues in the classroom is important to me as an educator, said Robyn Carlin, GeauxTeach master teacher at LSU's Cain Center . “The idea that the post-secondary community wants to promote a level playing field for all students, regardless of their diversity, and especially for female students in disciplines that are traditionally male-dominated, is encouraging.”

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Article by Akilah L. Taylor, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-0092, ataylor1@lsu.edu



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