VCU School of Education
Race and Diversity Teach-in
Featuring Dr. Leslie Jones, Biologist and Science Educator, Valdosta State University
Monday Sept 19th 5:30 to 7 Temple room 1160
Untangling Biological Diversity from the Social Construction of Race
If there is anything to be learned from recent racial events and the associated social unrest, it is the need for educational curricula to address systemic racism. Racial discrimination that goes on today had its origins in pseudoscientific studies, conducted by Europeans and Americans during the “Age of Imperialism.” In order to justify the abuse of people from other parts of the world, differences in appearance were magnified and portrayed as indications of significant biological variation. Those distortions are a painful legacy that can be easily refuted by a modern understanding of human biology. Recent progress in genomic research offers new evidence as to the superficiality of the relatively insignificant amount of genetic diversity that exists within our species. The characteristics of indigenous people all over the world demonstrate that there never were discrete racial categories and “race” has always been a cultural construct. Even though teaching in the interest of social justice is not a typical focus of science education, racism can be undermined by ensuring that basic facts about human evolution become part of the curriculum in K-16 education.
Leslie Sandra Jones describes herself as a passionate biologist who studied Equine Reproductive Physiology before developing an interest in Science Education while working at The Ohio State University. An undergraduate education at Mount Holyoke College solidified her interest in science, but it was not until her Master’s program at the University of New Hampshire that she ever considered an academic career. She teaches Evolution & the Diversity of Life for non-majors, Freshman & Senior Seminars for biology majors, and required content courses for education majors such as Integrated Science, Exploring Our Ecosystem, and the Natural History of Georgia. She created an integrated religion & science course called The Historical Basis of the Evolution/Creation Controversy as a response to the distrust of science among religious students in the region. Her most recent effort was to use an antiracist, evolutionary approach to an existing Human Biology course as the application of her current research on ways “Biology Can Become Antiracist Pedagogy.”
This year’s Assembly will feature a lively evening reception; plenty of educational workshops; breakout sessions; and engaging field trips, including a pipeline hike, a kayaking trip down the Rivanna River, and a sustainable winery tour. The full event schedule can be found here.
We would love to have a stronger student presence at this event, as it is an excellent learning and networking opportunity with environmental organizations and legislators. Student tickets are $10 (the regular ticket price is $30), which covers the cost of the Friday evening reception and Saturday’s meals/programming. If you know of any students who would be interested in attending, please pass this invitation on to them. Please also pass this information along to any professors who are willing to share this invitation with their classes.
Please feel free to call me at Communications Manager Kelley Galownia, 804.644.0283 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in September!
As many of you already know, the National Scholarship Office works with VCU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni, to assist them with their applications for nationally competitive scholarships. Annually, we oversee the application processes for 20 different scholarship and fellowship opportunities, which are geared towards applicants in numerous different fields and with many different interests – from independent research, to studying or even teaching English abroad.
You will find below a calendar listing of our upcoming sessions followed by brief descriptions of each award.
This scholarship aims to increase the number of scientists and engineers engaged in research with the Department of Defense. Those who apply should be earning a degree (undergraduate or graduate) in a STEM discipline. Students will be required to work on a research project with the DoD each summer. Recipients also agree to work for the DoD after graduation for one year per each year of funding received. In addition to full tuition and fees, an annual stipend of $25,000-$38,000 will be provided.
If you have experience with organic farming or are interested in exploring careers in sustainable agriculture, horticulture, or entomology, please consider enrolling in BIOL 498 Insects & Plants Service Learning.
This service-learning course “counts” as a lab and also as a capstone experience for students who have completed the biocore and are co-enrolled in BIOL 477 Capstone Experience. For more information please contact Dr. Karen Kester: email@example.com