The STEAM-Active (Project Number: 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000032107) project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Creating inclusive classrooms by engaging STEM faculty in culturally responsive teaching workshops

Partners' Institution
University of Peloponnese
Year of publication
Educational stage
University Level
Journal name
O’Leary et al. International Journal of STEM Education
Thematic Area
STEAM intervention (teaching strategies, evaluation...), Gender Inequality
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
For each of 3 years (2015, 2016, and 2017), an average of 38 faculty members from 9 departments in the Division of Life Sciences and 6 departments in the Division of Physical Sciences were invited by the deans and associate deans to participate in an Inclusive Excellence Workshop.

We studied the effectiveness of the Inclusive Excellence Workshop both during and after the intervention, with data collected and analyzed for both formative and summative purposes by external evaluators each year. Data sources used in this study include surveys and informal group feedback. To understand the impact of the workshops, we utilized a mixed-method design in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed.

Key findings indicate that attendees (1) increased their knowledge of social identities and the barriers to learning in STEM classrooms, particularly those faced by students from underrepresented groups in STEM or socioeconomically challenged backgrounds; (2) changed their attitudes about students’ abilities as science majors, shifting away from a fixed-mindset perspective in which characteristics, such as intelligence, are perceived as innate and unalterable; and (3) modified their teaching approaches to promote inclusivity and cultural responsiveness.
Faculty members, who are linchpins in the evolution of college classrooms into settings that provide students with equitable opportunities to succeed academically in STEM, can benefit from participating in immersion workshops structured to support their awareness of issues affecting classroom culture related to race/ethnicity, LGBTQ status, religious affiliation, ability, socioeconomic status, and other social identities that contribute to disparities in STEM achievement and persistence.
Point of Strength
Analysis of participant data from our Inclusive Excellence Workshop shows that we were effective in our goals to raise awareness among university faculty of the social equity barriers that undermine student success in STEM, particularly those in historically underserved social identity groups, and to help faculty members understand their role in overcoming these barriers. Altogether, our findings suggest that engaging faculty in this immersion workshop had a positive impact on attitudes, increased knowledge, and motivated action to change teaching practices.
Inclusive education, Teaching practices, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Classroom climate, Equitable learning environment, Faculty development