Kenyon was one of only two liberal arts colleges to receive a 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence (HHMI-IE) award. In support of the College’s current strategic plan, the Natural Science Division’s successful proposal focused on initiatives to increase inclusion of all students who study science at Kenyon. HHMI IE award funding concluded in the summer of 2022.

Our program built upon a remarkable series of externally funded initiatives (prior HHMI awards, two NSF S-STEM grants, Clare Boothe Luce award, Sherman Fairchild grant) that have established Kenyon as a leader in STEM inclusion research and practice. Kenyon’s HHMI IE grant catalyzed institutional change through rich and accessible faculty development and by lowering systemic structural barriers to inclusion.

HHMI IE-Sponsored Initiatives

Faculty who adopted inclusive pedagogies or developed proven inclusive mentoring skills were supported through three HHMI IE-sponsored initiatives:

1. Natural Science Faculty Reading Group

The Natural Science Faculty Reading Group, which will continue through the Center for Innovative Pedagogy, is a faculty learning community centered on reading current literature on best practices in teaching science/mathematics, STEM mentoring, high impact educational practices in STEM and increasing inclusion of students from underrepresented groups.

2. Course Innovation Grants

Course Innovation Grants provided generous support for faculty to make meaningful curricular changes, support training and travel to conferences or workshops, fund materials or technology, and cover course releases to further work on innovation projects during the academic year.

3. Kenyon Equity Institute

An intensive training program was offered in partnership with the IDEAL Center each August beginning in 2020. The Kenyon Equity Institute focused on understanding the systems of oppression that are at play at Kenyon. It developed participants' ability to understand the origin and historical context of systems of oppression, identify instances where such systems are influencing what we do at Kenyon, and empowered them as change agents to dismantle them.

Additional Initiatives

Structural barriers to inclusion that were identified through HHMI IE activities were also addressed by faculty Action Groups. 

To acknowledge both the value Kenyon places on inclusion and the scholarly endeavors of the faculty, a Faculty Incentive Program (FIP) provided a 50% stipend match to individual faculty development accounts for all stipend-bearing inclusion activities.

Data collected from dedicated surveys of students in science courses, College-wide surveys, and focus groups and interviews revealed ways to enhance inclusion at Kenyon and clarified areas for improvement by the Natural Science Division.