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Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning and Evaluation (CASTLE)

Three Critical Strands

RIT HHMI Inclusive Excellence project will focus on three distinct areas, which will support successful student experiences: building a strong support network, promoting an inclusive environment that encourages open and safe conversation and good listening, and providing students with tools to understand themselves and others.

Student in a research lab

(1) Research/Labs

Objective: Engage faculty in discussion about identifying, recruiting, and mentoring a diverse student population in the research lab. Faculty workshops will discuss both general mentoring strategies (e.g. setting goals) as well as topics specific to the target populations (e.g. DHH communication strategies or mentoring across gender and racial divides). Close collaboration with existing institute programs that serve underrepresented students will increase recruitment and participation of targeted students.

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Students in a classroom

(2) Teaching/Classroom Practice

Objective: Create new classroom materials that promote student metacognition (understanding how they individually learn best) and sense of identity, as these have been shown to address many negative cultural messages students receive about their place in science. Examples include short reflections on individual strengths (affirmation exercises) or how different disciplines connected (e.g. how math concepts arise in physics). Activities will be short, so faculty can incorporate 1-2/week without significantly impacting content and keeping continuity across campus.

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RIT Students involved in community and theater activities.

(3) Community/Theater

Objective: Foster a welcoming and inclusive community through a series of community building events and “Playback Theater” workshops in which actors recreate participant narratives around issues of identity and inclusivity to create stronger bonds between faculty and students. The Community/Theater strand will work with existing (and create new) student and faculty/student groups across the college to identify common challenges in the culture. 


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