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Toward a more inclusive ecology: Increasing career commitment through curricular intervention.
Rosenfeld, Kristen*,1, Damschen, Ellen1, Murphy-Medley, Deena1, Wentworth, Thomas1, Wyer, Mary1, 1 North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
ABSTRACT- Current trends in science education encourage the integration of inclusive material regarding women in the science curriculum. There are few studies that document the impact of this material and those that exist are primarily qualitative. This project is an NSF sponsored study by The Women in Science and Engineering Project in the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the departments of Botany and Zoology at North Carolina State University. It tests the theory that the inclusion of material regarding women in science increases retention and future career commitment. The study was undertaken in a large introductory undergraduate ecology course taught for two consecutive semesters. In 17 laboratory sections (approximately 400 students), 8 sections received supplemental material integrated into the regular laboratory subject matter and 9 sections served as controls. Material covered contributions of women overlooked in their course text along with methodological, cultural, and social biases in science. Results after one semester indicate a significant increase in commitment to a career in science for both men and women in treatment sections.
Key words: women, diversity, educational research, curriculum development