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Increasing Diversity: Addressing Stereotype Threat

Lily Khadjavi, Ph.D., CTE Faculty Associate Project, Spring 2012

The impact of "stereotype threat" -- the fear, conscious or unconscious, of being judged through the lens of a negative stereotype -- manifests itself at many levels of academia. For example, because of stereotype threat, students from under-represented groups may not perform up to their potential, despite their best efforts and the best intentions of their professors. This affects women and students of color in math and science, among others. Through workshops and presentations, we will learn more about this phenomenon and about tools and interventions so that our students and faculty can achieve to their fullest.


For details about the each event, including recordings, handouts, reading material, etc., if available, please click on the title to be redirected to the respective event page.

January 17, 2012, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM, CTE - UNH 3030
Stereotype Threat: An Examination of How Stereotypes Can Impede the Performance of Our Students
Presenter: Adam Fingerhut, Ph.D.
Psychology Department, Loyola Marymount University

The fear of being judged through the lens of a negative stereotype can contribute to a significantly weaker academic performance of our students based on their race, gender, or other traits -- even when faculty are not directly invoking stereotypes. In this talk, I will present an overview of the surprising phenomenon of "stereotype threat" and the unusual ways in which it may manifest itself, in a variety of fields and activities. Understanding this phenomenon will allow us to become better teachers and to bring out the best in our students. Additionally, I will explore theoretical and empirical work detailing potential mechanisms underlying the stereotype threat phenomenon and discuss newer research, indicating the idea that stereotype threat may be comprised of multiple levels. Finally, I will present some data demonstrating that not every member of a given social category is equally susceptible to threat; I will do this as a way to suggest that there are certain individuals who we should most be aware of in our interventions.

April 10, 2012, 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM, CTE - UNH 3030
Reducing the Effect of Stereotype Threat on Achievement: Classroom Interventions
Presenter: Dustin Thoman, Ph.D.
Psychology Department, Loyola Marymount University

Educators becoming aware of research on stereotype threat are motivated to understand what can be done to ameliorate the influence of stereotypes on student achievement. Although there is no "magic bullet" for closing achievement gaps, psychology researchers have designed and implemented a number of successful stereotype threat interventions with promising results. These interventions work by targeting psychological variables that have been implicated in stereotype threat processes, demonstrating that subtle theory-driven interventions can produce big effects. This talk describes properties of successful interventions, provides details for four types of successful interventions, demonstrates how to use these interventions, and discusses pros and cons for implementing each type of interventions in college classrooms. Attendees will leave with concrete ideas for their own classes.

April 25, 2012, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Marymount Institute - UNH 3002
Does Stereotype Threat Affect Faculty? A Conversation
Moderated by: Cheryl Grills, Ph.D., Psychology
                        Associate Dean, BCLA

Much attention to stereotype threat has been focused on its effect on students, on test scores and other measures of performance. We, as faculty members, as teachers and researchers, may also be affected by stereotype threat.

Come and join a conversation about how we and our colleagues are impacted by implicit and explicit stereotypes, in the classrooms and in our careers. We will share stories and experiences to understand what we are facing at LMU, to discuss how we can address it and what support structures may be needed, both on an individual and an institutional basis.