Over the last few decades, it has become apparent that, although the university as a whole has become more diverse, specific disciplines such as physics have not kept pace. The reasons for this can be myriad and are grouped primarily into two bins; the system or the process. The system reflects the make-up of those coming to the university, which is determined by forces at work in public schools and society at large. University faculty can do only a little to “fix” issues that arrive at our doors. The process is the activities, from recruitment to teaching, happening within the university and its affiliated partners. It is there that the faculty of a physics department can make real change.
Dr. Vashti Sawtelle, from Michigan State University, is working on methods and practices where the discipline of physics can become more inclusive and begin reflecting the diverse world in which we live. She comes to STEM Spots to chat about her efforts and how she and her colleagues are making a difference that can be sustained.