- Our Colleges
- Our Profiles
- Do You Know?
- Women's Education
- News & Links
- About Us
- Request Info
Making the Sciences Accessible
“When I learned science, it was through doing sets of experiments, like following recipes out of a cookbook,” recalls Dr. Cindy Norton, Endowed Professor in the Sciences at the St. Catherine University in Minnesota (www.stkate.edu). “Over the past 15 years, things have changed, though,” she adds. “Science is now more inquiry based and more relevant to students.”
Today, as a professor of biology-women’s studies, Norton is working to continue to improve the way the sciences are taught, discussed and practiced, making them more accessible to students, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in the field. This summer, along with Professor of Biology-Women’s Studies Debbie Wygal, she will co-chair “Inclusive Science: Articulating Theory, Practice and Action,” a national conference that will take place June 16–18 on St. Kate’s campus. The conference will focus on the intersections of science, gender, race and class.
“It’s no secret that there is a national crisis in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM ) fields, particularly in terms of the involvement of women and people of color,” says Norton, who also is a professor of biology and women’s studies.
Inclusive Science will focus on three intersections of science and feminism: multiple frameworks (critiques of science from multiple perspectives, including gender, race, ethnicity and class); pedagogies that engage traditionally underrepresented groups from a variety of social classes in the STEM fields; and transformation (putting theory into action and changing the way science is learned and taught).
“These are areas in which there has been a great deal of scholarly activity, and yet few opportunities exist to exchange information, assess where we are and determine where we need to go,” Norton says.
“The conference is designed to help scholars in and of the sciences share knowledge and ideas, develop strategies for disseminating their theory, pedagogies and activism, and discuss ways to go forward. The knowledge exchanged at the conference will be of tremendous benefit to all institutions interested in recruiting and retaining students in science programs, and in training them in literacy and practice. We want this to have an impact on all of our students and on science itself.”
One of the conference speakers is Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, scholar, teacher, author, administrator and race relations expert, is president of Spelman College in Atlanta. Tatum is a clinical psychologist whose areas of research interest include black families in white communities, racial identity in teens, and the role of race in the classroom. She also has toured extensively, leading workshops on racial identity development and its impact in the classroom.
Norton, in collaboration with representatives from Augsburg College, Hamline University, Macalester College and St. Thomas University, has received $53,800 in funding through the ACTC Collaborative Grant Program to host the conference.
More information about the “Inclusive Science” conference, including a schedule and list of keynote speakers, is available at email@example.com.