Bringing diversity to science: an ‘outrageous dream’?

Freeman Hrabowski gave this inspiring talk to TED Long Beach about diversity in science education. As the head of the University of Maryland for  20 years – the first university of Baltimore to be open to people of all color – Hrabowski’s been a big part of this “50 year experiment.” The university has been recognized as a leader in training minorities to become scientists.

First, he acknowledges how he was inspired by his memories of Martin Luther King’s Children Crusade in Birmingham at age twelve, learning that people can take “ownership of their education and be taught to ask questions”. He then remind us that it isn’t just minorities who don’t do well in science, it’s ALL AMERICANS. Here are his four takeaway points.

  1. Set high expectations for students (don’t focus on their deficiencies). It’s understanding that it’s hard work that makes the difference.
  2. Build a community around the students, get them to understand each other and give them a sense of responsibility. (Too often universities foster a heightened sense of competition which prevents students from learning how to work as a team).
  3. It takes researchers to produce researchers, and the faculty needs to be personally involved with the students.
  4. Today’s students are bored, they don’t just want to sit and listen to a professor. Courses need to be redesigned and students need to be engaged.

Watch the video after the break.

[ted id=1710]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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