2023-24 Health Sciences Seminar Series featuring Dr. Elli J Theobald

Event Details

Carleton University

The Department of Health Sciences is pleased to announce the next seminar in our 2023-24 Health Sciences Seminar Series, and this event will be via Zoom (see registration buttons below).

Title: Mind the gap: Active learning improves equity in STEM classrooms

Abstract: Educational inequity remains one of the most persistent and intractable problems in our society. Without equity, the STEM workforce in particular is unlikely to meet the needs of the growing economy and will also suffer from stunted innovation, as diverse groups are more creative and more successful at solving complex problems. Despite widespread efforts to increase access to and inclusion in STEM, minoritized students remain excluded from both STEM majors and STEM professions. The reasons for this are complex but instructors can play an active role in disrupting these inequities. For example, active learning techniques have been shown to improve student performance on average, but can active learning also be a partial solution to achieving equitable student outcomes? In this seminar, I will share recent work demonstrating that opportunity gaps—differential performance between minoritized students (BIPOC students as well as low-income students) and over-represented students—were reduced by 75% in college STEM courses when instructors incorporated active learning strategies, but only when active learning was implemented in a majority of class time. I find these data hopeful, albeit demonstrating only a partial solution to inequity in higher education.


Dr. Elli J Theobald
Associate Teaching Professor
Department of Biology
University of Washington