As part of International Women’s Day’s #BalanceforBetter campaign, we’re sharing a series of initiatives that promote gender balance in science and academia. Now Dr. Marjorie Weber and Associate Editor, Lars Brudvig share the online repository of teaching materials, Project Biodiversify.
Project Biodiversify is an online repository of teaching materials and methods aimed at increasing the diversity of biologists highlighted in lectures, humanizing biologists and making biology classrooms inclusive to students of all backgrounds (). The founder and organizer of Project Biodiversify is Dr. Ash Zemenick, who is an NSF ‘Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology’ Postdoctoral Fellow.
Project Biodiversify has two branches:
To facilitate easy inclusion of a diverse set of biologists into classroom lectures worldwide, Project Biodiversify is creating a database of teaching slides and notes based on the research and life experiences of biologists that self-identify as part of underrepresented group(s) in biology. This database aims to make it easy for educators to include slides highlighting diverse biologists in their lectures. Please consider submitting your work or the work of other scientists you admire to the database here.
To increase the inclusivity of biology classroom environments, Project Biodiversify is developing a repository of teaching methods and approaches that train educators in inclusive teaching practices, thereby increasing student success, recruitment, and retention via inclusivity. Our first effort is working to inform biology educators how to approach teaching sex and gender-related topics in biology in an inclusive and accurate manner. We run workshops at national meetings, including the Ecological Society of America meeting, on these issues. Workshop slides can be found here.
Biology classrooms serve as important points of inspiration for countless students, including aspiring applied ecologists. How can we make biology classrooms maximally inclusive? Project Biodiversify confronts this question in important ways. First, because examples of diverse, humanized biologists can connect broadly with students, they are developing a database of teaching materials that highlight biologists from groups under-represented in the sciences, for use in lectures. Second, because an inclusive environment will promote retention of a diverse group of students, they are developing a repository of teaching methods that promote inclusion in biology classes. These efforts make strides in promoting gender balance, and balance broadly, in the classroom. Please consider contributing to and using their database of teaching materials and attending one of their workshops.
Find out about more great initiatives in our Balance for Better series: