Diversity & Inclusion

I am actively engaged in a number of activities professionally to enhance the experiences of our diverse student body at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as promoting inclusive teaching practices globally. Thinking about diversity as an asset both in the classroom and among my colleagues is a guiding principle in all of the work that I do.

Inclusive Teaching Expertise

Kelly Hogan and I are experts on inclusive teaching. We are called upon regularly to provide professional development and consult with campus leaders and professional organizations on inclusive teaching. We have written about this in numerous outlets: The Chronicle of Higher Education, ACUE, EdSurge and interviewed for podcasts such as Teaching in Higher Ed. Some years ago, we hosted a campus-wide discussion on inclusive classrooms and we continue to learn and improve based on listening to our students and through our pedagogical training and development. We have hosted workshops at many campuses on inclusive teaching and talk about it as a way that both have us have begun to level the playing field in our courses, both in terms of learning gains as well as interest and motivation in our classes. We see this work as building equity in the classroom and are excited to provide faculty development and institutional culture change around teaching practices that can help all students succeed, but even more, seem to have disproportionate advantages for underrepresented students and first-generation college students.

HHMI Meyerhoff Adaptation Project: Promoting Inclusive Excellence in the STEM PhD Pipeline

Another major endeavor I lead on my campus is as the Program Evaluator for the Chancellor’s Science Scholars. This is an HHMI-funded adaptation of the highly successful Meyerhoff Scholarship at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The program aims to increase representation of underrepresented students in STEM PhDs through many components including a rigorous Summer Bridge, intensive advising, and a cohort-based model of success. My role as program evaluator is to provide feedback to the program through regular assessments of the scholars as well as evaluate the impact of the program by examining the performance of comparable students not in the program. Early findings have been promising, resulting in the expansion to other campuses.

UNC Office of Undergraduate Education: Office of Educational Measurement, Evaluation, and Analytics Work

In my role as Special Projects Assistant to the Senior Associate Dean, I work to create dashboards for faculty and departments to promote student success. We are also engaged in number of evaluation projects pertaining to inclusion. A full set of projects can be found here.

For example, a project I have worked with a small team of faculty, staff, and administrators to roll out a new tool called the My Course Analytics Dashboard (MCAD). The tool was built to allow faculty to mine their course data after the semester concludes by demographic attributes. We are expect a full roll out of the tool in Fall 2019. Initial feedback has been very positive. For example, comments include: “I didn’t know I had a gender gap in grades” or “I didn’t realize my transfer students weren’t doing so well” or “The tool made me realize I should adjust the readings in the course to be more representative of who is taking the class.” The tool makes it very easy for faculty to examine trends in their data on attributes that were previously very challenging for instructors to obtain such as first-generation status, pell-eligible status, transfer status, race/ethnicity, gender, etc. We wanted faculty to be curious about what is happening in their courses and hopefully, prod them to think about inclusive teaching practices as a way to promote student success. You can read more about this tool here.

American Psychological Association, Division 2: Society for Teaching of Psychology Diversity Committee

This Committee oversees and assess all Society activities related to diversity issues, including, but not limited to, diversity in membership, integration of diversity into the curriculum, hiring and retaining a diverse faculty, and attracting members of diverse groups to psychology as a major and a profession.

We are committed to increasing the presence of people and perspectives from diverse backgrounds into our teaching and psychology as a profession. The committee defines cultural diversity to include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic background, and physical ability.

Please share resources related to diversity, social justice, inclusion, and equity that you have found helpful in your teaching. We also welcome other suggestions you might have for the committee. Contact Teceta Tormala at ttormala@paloaltou.edu.

UNC Psychology & Neuroscience Diversity Committee

At the department-level I’m involved in our own Diversity Committee initiatives. I am on the undergraduate subcommittee where I work with three undergraduates and one graduate student to organize and host activities to foster more close connections of students and faculty in the department. For example, in the past year we offered social hour study breaks on reading days where faculty and students could mingle with popsicle in the courtyard and students could pick up exam supplies such as bubble sheets or blue books for written exams. I’m also on the communications subcommittee where we brainstorm and suggest ways we can communicate and expand upon diversity initiatives.