Associate Professor of Chemistry Kelly Neiles and Team Invited to Join Inclusive Excellence Learning Community

Submitted by Michael Bruckler on February 24, 2021 - 2:19 pm
February 24, 2021
By Michael Bruckler

Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Kelly Neiles, along with colleagues at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, have accepted an invitation from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to participate in an Inclusive Excellence Learning Community. The award includes $30,000 to support participation in the Learning Community, which focuses on the evaluation of inclusive teaching and is meant to build capacity for inclusion of all students, especially those who have been historically excluded from science. Neiles stated that she and her team “are excited for the opportunity this will provide the College both in terms of educating ourselves on this important topic, and also in positioning ourselves to gain future support for this work.”

The following individuals helped Neiles develop the proposal to HHMI:

  • Katy Arnett, professor of educational studies, faculty advisor for accessibility services, and coordinator of transparent teaching & assessment
  • Chris Burch, senior developer/architect in the Office of Information Technology
  • Emily Casey, assistant professor of art history
  • Tayo Clyburn, (former) vice president of diversity and inclusion/chief diversity officer
  • Samantha Elliott, director of the Center for Inclusive Teaching & Learning and associate professor of biology
  • Gili Freedman, assistant professor of psychology
  • Josh Grossman, professor of physics
  • Argelia Gonzalez Hurtado, assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies
  • Shanen Sherrer, assistant professor of biochemistry
  • Christine Wooley, associate dean of curriculum and associate professor of English
  • Diego Tibaquira professor of computer science at Miami Dade College

The Inclusive Excellence Learning Community will be organized in two phases. Phase 1 of the Learning Community will:

  • help members apply an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist lens to their continued self-study,
  • hold one another accountable as members develop inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist approaches to address selected challenges, and
  • help inform HHMI’s development of Phase 2.

Neiles’s team will participate in a learning community cluster with approximately 14 other teams from other institutions, focusing on evaluation of inclusive teaching. Two other clusters will concentrate on content of the introductory science experience, and effective partnerships between 2- and 4-year institutions.

An essential element of an inclusive stance is a commitment to dismantle institutional structural racism. HHMI also promotes moving from a scarcity mindset that emphasizes competition to an abundance mindset that embodies collaboration and community. By the end of Phase 1, HHMI’s goal is for each institution to be ready to develop an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist approach to address their selected challenge and have a community to rely on as they implement their ideas and strategies. HHMI will host meetings throughout Phase 1 so that the cluster members can convene and process their learning together.