This project will move STEM from a “weed out” culture to a culture of care by expanding the Humanizing Online STEM Academy to more California Community Colleges and California State Universities. The Humanizing Online STEM Academy, developed by Foothill College and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), promotes a culture of care through positive instructor-student relationships by training faculty on eight research-based interventions called “kindness cues of social inclusion.”
Preliminary research findings show that the Academy is linked with positive changes in faculty mindsets and the adoption of new teaching practices. In addition, survey and interview data collected from students in the humanized courses reveal high levels of student satisfaction and belonging, particularly among students from minoritized racial and ethnic groups. STEM faculty and faculty support specialists will be recruited from new “seed partner” institutions who will receive stipends funded by the grant upon completion. STEM faculty will also be recruited from existing “grow partner” institutions, who will use institutional funds to invest in the Academy as equity infrastructure. A research study will be conducted with three “grow partner” institutions to examine the impact of the Humanizing Online STEM Academy on the academic performance of students enrolled in courses taught by Academy participants. Grant funds will also be used to compensate Academy facilitators and guides for a post-Academy community of practice.