Biology both impacts and is impacted by society, but is commonly taught in a “value free” way that separates science from societal issues. In this month’s Interesting Read, the authors describe how they linked biological concepts to societal issues through the teaching of ideological awareness in an introductory biology course. While students who experienced the ideological awareness curriculum did not show significant gains in science identity, engagement in biology, or science community values as compared to their peers, the authors did find that these students were far more likely to name women scientists and scientists of color when asked to name as many scientists as possible over 2 minutes. These results suggest that integrating ideological awareness into the curriculum can help to combat the stereotype of the white, male scientist.
Beatty, A.E., Driessen, E.P., Gusler, T., Ewell, S., Grilliot, A., Ballen, C.J. (2021). Teaching the Tough Topics: Fostering Ideological Awareness through the Inclusion of Societally Impactful Topics in Introductory Biology.CBE—Life Sciences Education 2021 20:4 https://www.lifescied.org/doi/abs/10.1187/cbe.21-04-0100