The Office of Faculty Development

The Anti-Racist STEM Classroom

This Teaching guide was designed as a STEM specific add-on to the more general teaching guide. Please read through the Teaching Guide “Creating Anti-Racist Classrooms” first.

In STEM, we often think of our classroom as an objective place filled with objective theorems and laws removed from the social teachings of other disciplines. Even though the scientific method strives to be an objective process of discovery and understanding, science as an endeavor is subjected to societal influences. As an example, those who get credited for discoveries in our classrooms often become the recognizable faces representing STEM. When we only choose faces of Europeans, this subconsciously creates a model scientist that isn’t representative of many of us who are interested in pursuing STEM careers. This subconscious “othering” reduces minoritized student’s sense of belonging, STEM identity, and confidence and can have drastic negative impacts on our scientific advancements in the long run.

As we know, many issues are systemic and beyond our control as educators; however, studies have shown our pedagogical choices can still make a large impact at a classroom level. Additionally, none of us created this issue but it is up to us to recognize the mistakes made by previous generations and educate ourselves about anti-racist STEM teaching practices.

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    Examine selected research on Anti-Racism in STEM. 

    Leadership, W. S. (2020). Silence is never neutral; neither is science. Scientific American.

    Young, Gifted and Black: Promoting High Achievement among African-American Students. (2005). School Library Journal51(4), 78-. Media Source.

    McGee, E. O., Thakore, B. K., & LaBlance, S. S. (2017). The Burden of Being “Model”: Racialized Experiences of Asian STEM College Students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education10(3), 253–270. in new window)

    Bensimon, E. M. (2005). Closing the achievement gap in higher education: An organizational learning perspective. New Directions for Higher Education2005(131), 99–111. in new window)

    Flores, A. (2007). Examining Disparities in Mathematics Education: Achievement Gap or Opportunity Gap? The High School Journal91(1), 29–42. in new window)

    Gouvea, J. S. (2021). Antiracism and the Problems with “Achievement Gaps” in STEM Education. CBE Life Sciences Education20(1), fe2–fe2. in new window)


    Ready to apply Anti-racism to your STEM teaching? Here are some ideas and strategies to get you started:

    1. Anti-racist syllabus - often your syllabus is the first thing students interact with in your course so setting the tone right from the beginning can be an impactful start. (Here is a guide from California Community Colleges(opens in new window))
    2. Decolonize your course materials - does the textbook include only euro-centric histories of your subject? Does the imagery in the learning materials only depict European-Americans and/or men? Consider including non-eurocentric histories and add/remove imagery to make the space feel less exclusionary.
    3. Educate yourself as to which implicit biases you have and work towards removing them from your teaching practices. A good place to start is by reading through Columbia University’s “Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Action: First Steps(opens in new window)