Hamilton College and 13 other institutions have been awarded an $8.05 million grant by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as part of HHMI’s Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) initiative titled “Increasing Capacity to Support Equitable and Inclusive Learning Environments for Introductory-level STEM Students across the LCC2 Learning Community.” 

IE3 challenges colleges and universities to continue their critical work to support the inclusion of all students in science, especially those who have been historically excluded from the sciences. The awardees will each receive approximately $377,000 in funds, and $2.7 million will be applied collectively.

“Sustaining advances in diversity and inclusion requires a scientific culture that is centered on equity,” said Blanton Tolbert, HHMI’s vice president of science leadership and culture. “In science education, increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds must go hand in hand with creating inclusive learning environments in which everyone can thrive.”

Funding is focused on developing pedagogy for increasing completion rates for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields with particular attention to minorities, first-generation students, and women. The 14 institutions will engage in three major projects over the next six years and beyond to:

  1. create safe, equitable, and supportive teaching and learning communities,
  2. support ongoing curricular redesign to achieve inclusive excellence in introductory STEM courses, and
  3. build peer-to-peer student cultures of support in STEM.

"Our commitment to inclusive excellence at Hamilton emphasizes faculty and staff having access to professional development and resources to integrate inclusive practices throughout the curriculum, classroom, and research opportunities so that every student has the chance to reach their full potential in their STEM pathway," said Co-Program Directors Nathan Goodale and Siobhan Robinson.

During the first year of the grant cycle, all institutions will devote significant time to asset mapping: identifying and learning about DEI-related efforts that are currently underway at each institution.  Members will share their findings, exchange ideas and propose projects in institutional clusters.  The Hamilton team will solicit project ideas from the College’s STEM community in support of the three projects. The aim is that while the College will focus on STEM curricula and development, the work will filter throughout the curriculum in connection with all institutional DEI goals.

The other 13 institutions include Elon University, Fairfield University, Fisk University, Fort Lewis College, Oglethorpe University, Otterbein University, Portland State University, Simmons University, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota-Morris, University of New Mexico, and Xavier University. Hamilton has volunteered to take a lead role in developing and using assessment tools and in completing budget-related work.

Members of Hamilton’s team for this grant include Co-Program Director Siobhan Robinson (Psychology and Neuroscience), Co-Program Director and Lead Applicant Associate Dean of Faculty Nathan Goodale, Karen Brewer( Chemistry), Jose Ceniceros (Mathematics), Rhea Datta (Biology), Christy Wentz (LITS), Jasmine Yang (Institutional Research), Cat Beck (Geosciences), Kate Brown (Physics), Todd Franklin (Philosophy), Director of the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center Jessica Kelly, Darren Strash (Computer Science), and Aaron Strong (Environmental Studies).

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