Teaching Sensitive Topics in STEM: Teaching the Work of Controversial Figures in your Field
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Diversifying STEM fields requires attention to the culture that we as a community are creating and how we are welcoming and creating a sense of belonging for those who have been historically excluded. The culture of our fields, and particularly how we welcome those from underrepresented groups, depends on the collective behaviors of those who are in the field, including how we respond to problematic behaviors. Every field has some individuals who have done both incredible work to advance science as well as engaged in questionable or even abhorrent behavior. How do you address someone’s problematic history in your teaching? How do you decide whether to address it with your class? What do you do if students bring it up? In this session, Poorvu Faculty Fellow and Professor and Chair of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Enrique De La Cruz and A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics Charles Bailyn will facilitate a discussion of a case study to think through these difficult questions and conversations.