Kenyon is 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.
Our program builds upon a remarkable series of externally funded initiatives (prior HHMI awards, two NSF S-STEM grants, Clare Boothe Luce award, Sherman Fairchild grant) that has established Kenyon as a leader in STEM inclusion research and practice. Kenyon’s HHMI IE grant will catalyze institutional change through rich and accessible faculty development and by lowering systemic structural barriers to inclusion.
The program was launched through a Priming Retreat for the Natural Science Division on May 14 and 15, 2018. This retreat was facilitated by PULSE Ambassadors, and enabled individual faculty members, departments, and the division as a whole to study our performance on inclusion, develop a shared vision of what a more inclusive science division would look like, and decide what we will do next to advance our goals.
HHMI IE-Sponsored Initiatives
Faculty who intend to adopt inclusive pedagogies or develop proven inclusive mentoring skills will be supported through three HHMI IE-sponsored initiatives:
1. Natural Science Faculty Reading Group
The Natural Science Faculty Reading Group 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 provide 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 will be offered in partnership with the Ideal Center each August beginning in 2020. The Kenyon Equity Institute will focus on understanding the systems of oppression that are at play at Kenyon. It will develop 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 empower them as change agents to dismantle them.
Structural barriers to inclusion that are identified at the Priming Retreat or other HHMI IE activities will be addressed by faculty Action Groups. Some barriers of special import have already come to the fore: the criteria of faculty evaluation, grading policies during the first year of science study, and curricular coherence across the Natural Science Division.
To acknowledge both the value Kenyon places on inclusion and the scholarly endeavors of the faculty, a Faculty Incentive Program (FIP) will provide a 50 percent stipend match to individual faculty development accounts for all stipend-bearing inclusion activities.
Careful and extensive assessment will demonstrate our progress toward inclusive excellence. Data collected from dedicated surveys of students in science courses, college-wide surveys, and focus groups and interviews will reveal ways to enhance inclusion at Kenyon and clarify areas for improvement by the Natural Science Division.