North-Central Section - 57th Annual Meeting - 2023

Paper No. 10-12
Presentation Time: 5:10 PM


PETERSON, Ginny1, CALLAHAN, Caitlin1, KUMPF, Amber2, MATTOX, Stephen1, MATTOX, Tari3 and WINKLESTERN, Ian1, (1)Geology Department, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401, (2)Muskegon Community College, Muskegon, MI 49442, (3)Department of Physical Sciences, Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

In the winter of 2020, a contingent of geology faculty from Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Muskegon Community College participated as a group or “pod” in the NSF-funded, initiative and curriculum program Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences (URGE; We benefited from the ways in which URGE focused on accountability and helped us to develop an anti-racist lens. With this lens we worked to examine our policies, challenge our assumptions about impacts of certain teaching practices, and understand our expectations about which social and workplace norms are acceptable and which are not. URGE also provided us a forum where we were able to learn from colleagues at different stages of career and at different institutions. While we did not participate formally in the recent Refinement phase of the URGE program, we have continued our own individual development and collaborative support of one another.

In this presentation, we share examples of how we have implemented lessons from URGE into our professional practices. These include: altering course documents and practices (e.g. style of language and organization within course syllabi); developing a code of conduct policy regarding safety on field trips; engaging in conversations about URGE with administrators; bringing diverse geoscientists to speak about their research; bringing speakers to talk about research into the impacts and importance of individual identity for persistence in STEM; working on policy committees where we can support and emphasize diversity and equity efforts; developing questions related to DEI for candidates applying for positions at our institutions; and sharing lessons with our colleagues. Recognizing we never expect to complete this work, nor are we alone in this effort, we are interested to hear from others about their experiences. In particular, URGE imparted a lesson that progress cannot be measured by numbers alone, but also in the transformation of culture and opportunities.