Release: Oct. 7, 2019
GAMBIER, Ohio — How does diversity enhance environments of learning? Renowned social psychologist and educator Claude Steele shares his research on diverse learning communities and their importance in a public address at Kenyon College on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. The free event will be held in the Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater, 101 ½ College Drive.
Steele’s lecture, titled “Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat: The Science of a Diverse Community,” will analyze the factors critical to the success of diverse learning communities. Steele will address the outsized benefits diverse learning communities afford to marginalized students, including women in STEM fields. The talk will also uncover the psychological significance of community and its role in the learning process.
Steele’s critically acclaimed book, “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” released in 2010, synthesizes years of research on stereotype threat and how it can depress the performance of marginalized students in higher education. Stereotype threat results when members of a marginalized group feel extra pressure to avoid confirming negative stereotypes about that group.
“Kenyon is a place where community is especially valued and where we pay a great deal of attention to protecting it. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Steele to inform our conversations about how to minimize the negative impact of stereotypes in our classrooms and along Middle Path,” said Professor of Chemistry John Hofferberth, director of Kenyon’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Initiatives, which co-sponsored Steele’s visit. The HHMI program, launched through a $1 million grant announced in 2017, builds on Kenyon’s efforts to lower institutional barriers to inclusion of underrepresented students.
Steele is a professor emeritus of psychology and the former I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University. He has also served as the executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley, and the provost of Columbia University. Steele earned a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College and a doctorate in social psychology from the Ohio State University. He has been elected to numerous academic associations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Science Board, and the National Academy of Education, and he serves as a fellow at the American Institutes for Research and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Steele’s lecture is part of a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Kenyon. For more information, contact Hofferberth at 740-427-5360.