Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Poorvu Center Partners with SEAS to Enhance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

October 14, 2021

By Staff Writer

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning is working with the School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS) to build its commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). This effort is part of a long-term strategic plan and aims to better create an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of the SEAS community.

In Fall 2021, SEAS initiated a series of DEIB workshops, offering evidence-based diversity training for the community. In Fall 2021, they offered six of these targeted events, in addition to the many “belonging-related” events held at Yale University on a weekly basis. The series included events run by three members of the Poorvu Center, Deborah Stanley-McAulay Associate Vice President for Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture, and Deputy Dean and Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Darin Latimore, MD.

Jennifer Frederick, the Executive Director of the Poorvu Center, guided a workshop on “Leading Inclusive Lab Meetings,” at which SEAS faculty reflected on lab meeting practices that include or exclude members and learned what research suggests to designing more inclusive meetings. She used an interactive format that emphasized exchange of ideas among peers, something the Poorvu Center emphasizes.

“The Poorvu is here to help facilitate conversations,” says Associate Director of Faculty Teaching Initiatives, Melissa Scheve. “We are not arriving and lecturing, we are enabling discussions and sharing research that will assist teachers in their practice.”

Scheve’s own workshop, “Inclusive Teaching at SEAS,” focused on how students’ feelings of belonging are strongly correlated to their ability to learn. She based this on peer-reviewed research, which demonstrates that feelings of exclusion or marginalization create barriers to student learning, something particularly true for students from underrepresented campus groups and individuals.

Fourteen faculty attended the session. “Everyone wanted to discuss how to make their teaching more inclusive,” says Scheve. The group shared STEM-specific teaching methods with an understanding of the heavy content load and other challenges the SEAS faculty might encounter. Scheve tried to model inclusive teaching practices during the session.

“Inclusive teaching is really important,” she says. “Yale is a place of academic excellence where we want every student to reach their full potential. We have to make sure we reach every student and that every student feels like they belong.”

So far, the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s DEIB workshop series is a success. “It seemed to resonate with them,” says Scheve of her workshop. “And word has spread.” Indeed, the Poorvu Center’s Faculty Teaching Initiative team is discussing the possibility of similar workshops with other Yale departments and schools right now.



Chaudhary, V. Bala, and Asmeret Asefaw Berhe. “Ten simple rules for building an antiracist lab.” (2020): e1008210.


Dewsbury, Bryan, and Shannon Seidel. “Reflections and Actions for Creating an Inclusive Research Environment.” Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques 21.1 (2020): e43.


Golden, Nigel, et al. “Ten simple rules for productive lab meetings.” (2021): e1008953.


Heath, Kathryn, and Brenda F. Wensil. “To build an inclusive culture, start with inclusive

meetings.” Harvard Business Review 6 (2019).


Inclusive Zoom meetings


Tuckman Model of Team Development

Blog posting with a useful graphic:


Web article explaining how to use this model to consider your team (research group):


Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science, 331(6023), 1447–1451.