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Leticia Marquez-Magana, Audrey Parangan-Smith
San Francisco State University.
Pseudoscience in the form of eugenics studies have led to the unfortunate stereotyping of people of color as less intelligent than their white counterparts. As a result, science environments often invalidate scientists of color and/or render them invisible, thereby triggering stereotype threat. This situational threat leads to the underperformance of trainees of color in science domains. To overcome this barrier to equity, diversity, and inclusion in science, leaders of the SF BUILD project at San Francisco State University (SF State) have developed a workshop for science faculty and research mentors. The workshop enables participants to recognize and reduce stereotype threat in their classrooms and research labs. It was developed by a transdisciplinary team of researchers that included cognitive and social psychologists, basic scientists, and science educators, and is based on nearly 50 scholarly articles. Since its development in 2016 the workshop has been delivered to hundreds of faculty and research mentors at SF State and at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). UCSF is the research partner for the SF BUILD project, and works with SF State, to “Enable Full Representation in Science.” Thus, the stereotype threat workshop can meet the needs of faculty and mentors at research-intensive universities (e.g., UCSF), as well at a comprehensive, minority-serving institution (e.g., SF State) who are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Richard Tam1, Jasmeen Kaur1, Cynnie Tam1, Milton Reynolds2, Rori Rohlfs1
1) San Francisco State University; 2) Milton Reynolds Consulting.
Our field of genetics is historically entangled with the political movement and scientific study of eugenics. This is clear from the overlap in early leaders of both fields (eg: Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, R.A. Fischer, J.B.S. Haldane), and from society and journal name changes (eg: The Annals of Eugenics became The Annals of Human Genetics in 1954). It is tempting to argue that our current projects have entirely departed from the scientific study of eugenics. However, such claims are unsubstantiated without considering the history of eugenics and subsequent changes in our scientific fields. Here we begin to examine this process through historical course offerings from the Department of Biology at our home institution, San Francisco State University (SFSU). We have no reason to believe that SFSU was exceptional in its eugenics course offerings, rather we chose to start here as a self-reflection and because it is more feasible to locate historical records on our own campus. By inspecting historical SFSU course bulletins, we found that ‘Eugenics’ was an upper-division elective offered by the Department of Biology from 1926 to 1951. We also noticed that in 1952 a new course, with a strikingly similar course description, was offered: ‘Human genetics.’ The timing of these course offerings and similarities in course descriptions seems to suggest that ‘Human genetics’ replaced ‘Eugenics.’ Despite our efforts, we did not find any data on the motivation behind this course change, nor about the specific content for either course. However, we can better understand exactly why academia stepped away from eugenics, and clarify how scientific ideas evolved through this transition through parallel studies that can be implemented at other universities (with more fastidious record keeping). The design of our study is feasible for a project leader (faculty member, post-doc, or grad student) working with a few motivated undergraduates. These studies are particularly crucial as now tremendous genetic datasets enable investigation into questions that may be rooted in persistent ideas dating from the era of intentionally eugenic science. Critical re-examination of our field’s history will better position us to lessen harmful societal impacts and better align our field’s positive intentions and actual impacts.
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