SEISMIC Conversations is a new event series for SEISMIC Working Group members. The Speaker Events Bureau is hosting three SEISMIC Conversations during the 2021-2022 academic year. Each event will have a general topic and will feature presenters from across our Working Groups to share on works-in-progress. The purpose of these events is to keep SEISMIC members informed, involved, and engaged in our work. It is also to provide opportunities for members to get feedback on works-in-progress.



  1. Thursday October 28, 2021, 3-4 pm ET
  2. Thursday January 27, 2022, 3-4:30 pm ET
  3. Thursday March 24, 2022, 3-4:30 pm ET


Calendar invites with Zoom information will be sent directly to Working Group members in early October 2021.

Conversation #1: Increasing Awareness of DEI Issues

Thursday October 28, 2021, 3-4 pm ET


Equity Measures for Cross-Institutional Analyses

Presenter: Ben Koester, University of Michigan



“Mapping Curriculum Paths to Uncover Minoritizing Structures”

Presenter: Stefano Fiorini, Indiana University



“Critical Frameworks in STEM Education”

Presenters: Natasha Turman (left), University of Michigan; Natalia Caporale (middle), University of California Davis; Nikeetha Farfan D’Souza (right), Indiana University




Conversation #2: Taking Concrete Action: Moving Beyond Awareness

Thursday January 27, 2022, 3-4:30 pm ET


Department-Level Action

Presenter: Katherine Furniss, University of Minnesota

This presentation will ask SEISMIC members to participate in a 25 minute session that was originally designed for a Biology Teaching and Learning monthly department meeting at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. The last five minutes of the presentation will provide the basic framework that has been used for anyone interested in utilizing this framework in their own departments. The language below was the email sent to the department members. SEISMIC members should read it, watch the video, and spend some time with the reflection prompt prior to the presentation.

Email Originally Sent to Department Members For This Presentation

The aim of the November Department meeting is to develop awareness about meritocracy.

“[Meritocracy] Refers to a system in which power, wealth and privilege are determined by an individual’s merit” Nikki Forrester.

“[Meritocracy is] A system in which persons are rewarded and advanced based on ability and talent rather than on class, privilege, or wealth.” Jonathan Mijs.

“However, the concept of meritocracy in academia often overlooks income inequality, access to STEM education, prejudice and other factors that might limit opportunities for students of colour”  Nikki Forrester

Before our meeting at 3:30pm on Wednesday, November 3rd please watch the following video. The Reflection Prompt will be the focus for the small group discussion during the meeting.

Is Meritocracy a Myth? (20:01) Glad You Asked host Fabiola Cineas explores how the myth of meritocracy perpetuates racism while keeping the American dream achievable only for a privileged few.

For those crunched on time, please watch from 6:00-14:06

Reflection Prompt: What is an example of a time when you worked hard to succeed at a goal (e.g. admissions into undergraduate/graduate school, obtaining scholarships, publishing papers)?

  • What supports did you have at that time that were not associated with your own ability or talent, that helped you succeed?
  • Would everyone applying, publishing, etc. have those same supports?

For those interested in more:

Bertrand, Marianne, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2004. “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” American Economic Review, 94 (4): 991-1013. DOI: 10.1257/0002828042002561

Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoli, V. L., Graham, M. J., Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students, PNAS, 109(41), 16474-16479   https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1211286109

Thank you for your time and self-reflection on a topic some can find challenging and uncomfortable.




Course-Level Action – “A Two-Year Journey to Increase Student Success in a Large-Lecture STEM Course”

Presenter: Laura Brown, Indiana University

In the Fall of 2018, I attended a Learning Analytics Call for Proposal Information Session. During this session, I was presented with data on from a recent study out of five universities, including IU, that explored gendered performance differences (GPDs) across large foundational STEM courses.[i] I watched in shock as data from my course (Organic Chemistry 2) was highlighted, and the GPDs stood out in striking clarity. I promptly applied for and was awarded a Learning Analytics fellowship so that I could study the issue further, and also examine the intersectionality of the issue. In addition to my work with the Learning Analytics program on identifying and understanding the nature of the problem, I did everything that I could to educate myself on best practices to fix the problem. This led me to join Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) and to participate in a series of faculty learning communities (FLCs). I put everything that I learned into practice in the fall of 2020 in the same course that I came to see in a new light exactly two years prior. Gratifyingly, and despite the fact that we were in the midst of a global pandemic, these efforts appear to have paid off! In this presentation, I will describe my journey from that initial informational session in the Fall of 2018 all the way to the Fall of 2020 where I put everything that I learned into action and implemented interventions.

[i] Matz, R. L.; Koester, B. P.; Fiorini, S.; Grom, G.; Shepard, L.; Stangor, C. G.; Weiner, B.; McKay, T. A. Patterns of Gendered Performance Differences in Large Introductory Courses at Five Research Universities. AERA Open 2017, 3 (4), 1-12. 



Conversation #3: Advancing a New Standard for STEM Education

Thursday March 24, 2022, 3-4:30 pm ET

This SEISMIC Conversations will focus on grant opportunities for SEISMIC members. Abdi Warfa and Nita Tarchinski will each facilitate discussions on upcoming grant proposals they are working on. This is an opportunity to share ideas, identify collaborators, and get feedback.

Abdi Warfa – University of Minnnesota 

Nita Tarchinski – University of Michigan

Information for Presenters 

Thank you for presenting at one of our virtual SEISMIC Conversations! We have provided some information below to help you prepare for the event.


  • SEISMIC Conversations are scheduled for 90 minutes.
  • Each presentation will have 30 minutes. 15 minutes for a presentation followed by Q&A, then 15 minutes for breakout room discussions or other interactive pieces.
  • There will be time after the formal agenda for participants to stay in the Zoom room and continue conversations.


Preparing Your Presentation

  • You will have 12 minutes to present (not including Q&A). Though PowerPoint slides are not required, if you plan to use them we suggest that you limit the presentation to no more than 12 slides.
  • Please keep in mind that attendees may be more or less familiar with the work of your Working Group. Keep your presentations at a high enough level so all attendees can engage with it.
  • We recommend organizing your presentation to address the following questions:
    • What are the top 2-3 things your team has accomplished thus far as it relates to today’s Conversation Topic? (see topics above)
    • How does your work relate to SEISMIC’s overall goal to make introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive?
    • What are your next steps for this work?
    • What would you appreciate feedback, questions, or insight on?
  • Please include contact information in your presentation for people to reach out if they have additional questions or feedback following the event.