Biases, identity constructs and performance in STEM
In this project we investigate the role that hidden biases may play in the relationship between a number of different actors in the K-12 classroom. Biases may be present between teachers and students, students and other students, and students with their potential careers. In other words, student perception of who gets to be what in STEM may influence how career choices are made, and subsequently the investment they make in the classroom. We use the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure hidden bias, and explore possible relationships from this measure with other variables that other studies suggest may affect STEM performance.
Social belonging in higher education
As students transition to university, some undergo a radical change in their social environment. So drastic can be this shift that some struggle to make the necessary psychological adjustments needed to thrive. In this project we focus on these social adjustments and the role they can have on student success, broadly defined in an institution of higher education.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
The role of self-regulation has become an important component of K12 education in recent years. We work with a number of middle and high schools in Rhode Island who have implemented various versions of SEL into their curriculum. We are primarily seeking to assess the efficacy of these programs, and are designing unique ways to assess their role in changing paradigms and behaviors in students.
Affect and active learning
The role of community and a positive class climate has only been recently begun to be studied explicitly. Using a variety of methodologies and theoretical frameworks from psychology and sociology, we study the potential of community building as a potent force for creating a holistic learning environment. We investigate the possible ways in which this type of environment might promote effective learning, especially among students who historically have struggled in STEM courses.
Understanding, privilege, empathy and praxis in STEM pedagogy
In this project we use a carefully designed activity to elucidate faculty and student understanding of privilege and explore its relationship to empathy and the practice of teaching STEM. Reflections of participants are used to determine if the degree of their individual understanding of privilege, and the empathy generated from the exercise, affect their implicit biases and subsequently their academic and social behaviors.