Brassil presenting diversity, equity stats at Teaching and Learning Symposium

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Brassil presenting diversity, equity stats at Teaching and Learning Symposium

Inspired by YouTube and the university’s Center for Transformative Teaching, Chad Brassil is putting marker to glass in an effort to make the remote teaching of biology more illustrative, comprehensible and personal.
Chad Brassil, faculty director of undergraduate analytics and associate professor of biological sciences, is shown teaching a course remotely. He will present at the upcoming spring Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Analyzing data may not be for everyone but Chad Brassil, associate professor of biological sciences and faculty director of undergraduate analytics, has been compiling and analyzing statistics about the makeup of Husker students.

He’ll present his findings to attendees of the 2021 Teaching and Learning Symposium at 10:20 a.m., March 18. The symposium is March 18-19 and registration is currently open. The Teaching and Learning Symposium is a professional development opportunity sponsored by the Executive Vice Chancellor’s Office and the Center for Transformative Teaching in the fall and spring.

“We are prioritizing three major diversity metrics at UNL — race and ethnicity, first-generation and gender,” Brassil said. “While there are overlaps among those metrics, particularly race and ethnicity and first-generation, I am finding the story behind each of these to be unique.

“For example, first-generation equity gaps appear to be the largest among STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] disciplines yet persistent in all majors, while race and ethnicity equity gaps vary a lot by program.”

While undergraduate student data has existed for years, it’s never been analyzed to examine inequity before.

“What I aim to do is organize that data in a way that is actionable and compelling for departmental committees and individual instructors,” Brassil said. “Many departments are eager to obtain clear data about how their program contributes to our overall institutional inequity. This data provides the final piece of the puzzle that they need to effect change.”

Brassil will continue to work with the data and put together an analysis that can be disaggregated by a diversity metric. He also hopes to incorporate an opportunity index into the university’s analyses.

“An opportunity index summarizes the differential socio-economic opportunity that exists across the United States based on the neighborhood in which one lived before arriving at UNL,” Brassil said. “My hope is that a clear illustration of how differential opportunity underlies the differential success rates among our diversity metrics at UNL will invite us all to reconsider how we accommodate those differences in our classrooms.”

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