Title: Sustainability education: how evolving STEM benefits underserved populations

Authors: Liliana E. Caughman

Addresses: The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW, Olympia, WA 98505, USA

Abstract: This research explores ways in which sustainability education efforts can create an advantageous learning environment for women and underrepresented minority students in STEM. By drawing on key literature that discusses how to increase socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, and racial diversity in STEM fields, this work examines strategies to promote the retention of diverse learners by means of implementing a sustainability education (SE) model. Findings emphasise the importance of community-based learning, practical and applicable knowledge, and interdisciplinary studies in creating a positive learning environment for underrepresented students. This paper also highlights upcoming case studies focusing on two populations typically excluded from science and sustainability: 1) a science and sustainability lecture series for incarcerated students; 2) an integrated STEM curriculum at a tribal college. These programs and their curricula showcase aspects of environmental, social and cultural sustainability in higher education, targeted at diverse learners.

Keywords: STEM education; sustainability education; underrepresented minority students; URMs.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2017.088760

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2017 Vol.18 No.3/4, pp.203 - 219

Received: 23 Nov 2016
Accepted: 30 May 2017

Published online: 11 Dec 2017 *

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