MCQST Colloquium: Melissa Dancy

26 September 2023
from 14:00 to 16:00

Melissa Dancy | Western Michigan University - Rethinking strategies for STEM equity: How "good people" unintentionally maintain inequity and how we can leverage our privilege for justice.

MCQST Colloquium

Address / Location

MPI of Quantum Optics | B. 032

Hans-Kopferman-Straße 1



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The MCQST Colloquium Series features interdisciplinary talks given by visiting international speakers. The monthly colloquium covers topics spanning all MCQST research units and will be broadcast live via Zoom for audiences worldwide. The main goal of the series is to create the framework for idea exchange, to strengthen links with QST leading groups worldwide, as well as to act as an integral part of the local educational environment.

For the winter semester 2023/24 we have changed the format slightly. The agenda for each talk is:

  14:00 hrs | Teaser talk by MCQST junior researcher
  14:15 hrs | Informal discussion with coffee and cake
  14:30 hrs | Colloquium talk by speaker

Additional program: sign up here for free lunch with the speaker at the MPQ cafeteria at 12:30 pm:

MCQST Colloquium: Melissa Dancy

We are excited to invite you to the colloquium talk by Melissa Dancy (Western Michigan University). You can join us in-person at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at the above address, or online via the Zoom link below:
Meeting ID: 998 9779 8115
Passcode: mcqst2024

Talk Information

Rethinking strategies for STEM equity: How "good people" unintentionally maintain inequity and how we can leverage our privilege for justice.

Inequity in STEM remains a problem despite significant effort, care, and material resources dedicated to addressing it. The tendency to focus change efforts on the oppressed while leaving people and structures of power unexamined is likely related to the slow progress. In this talk, I present data from multiple studies considering how those who hold intersecting identities of privilege engage with equity efforts. Findings highlight how well-meaning people of privilege frequently undermine equity by failing to acknowledge even obvious inequity, distancing themselves from both the causes and solutions of inequity, minimizing it when they can not deny or distance, and justifying their own inaction. I end by offering recommendations for both individuals of privilege as well as recommendations for policymakers.


About the speaker

Dr. Dancy is a principal research associate in the evaluation center at Western Michigan University. She holds a PhD in physics and has been an active member of the physics education research community for more than 25 years. Throughout her career, she has always been drawn to research projects that focus on improving higher education STEM classrooms and working environments by improving teaching and/or addressing inequity. Dr. Dancy has over 70 peer-reviewed or invited publications related to educational transformation, faculty development, and equity. Dr. Dancy also frequently serves as an external evaluator on NSF-funded education related projects.

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