Allen, Danielle. 2016. “Toward a Connected Society.” Our Compelling Interests: The Value of Diversity for Democracy and a Prosperous Society, edited by Earl Lewis and Nancy Cantor, 71-105. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 71-105. Publisher's Version
Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back and de-biasing minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Behavioral design offers a new solution. Iris Bohnet shows that by de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts--often at low cost and high speed.
People can make decisions to join a group based solely on exposure to that group’s physical environment. Four studies demonstrate that the gender difference in interest in computer science is influenced by exposure to environments associated with computer scientists. In Study 1, simply changing the objects in a computer science classroom from those considered stereotypical of computer science (e.g., Star Trek poster, video games) to objects not considered stereotypical of computer science (e.g., nature poster, phone books) was sufficient to boost female undergraduates’ interest in computer science to the level of their male peers. Further investigation revealed that the stereotypical broadcast a masculine stereotype that discouraged women’s sense of ambient belonging and subsequent interest in the environment (Studies 2, 3, and 4) but had no similar effect on men (Studies 3, 4). This masculine stereotype prevented women’s interest from developing even in environments entirely populate
Using both qualitative longitudinal data collected 20 years after the original Unequal Childhoods study and interview data from a study of upwardly mobile adults, this address demonstrates how cultural knowledge matters when white and African American young adults of differing class backgrounds navigate key institutions. I find that middle-class young adults had more knowledge than their working-class or poor counterparts of the “rules of the game” regarding how institutions worked. They also displayed more of a sense of entitlement to ask for help. When faced with a problem related to an institution, middle-class young adults frequently succeeded in getting their needs accommodated by the institution; working-class and poor young adults were less knowledgeable about and more frustrated by bureaucracies. This address also shows the crucial role of “cultural guides” who help upwardly mobile adults navigate institutions. While many studies of class reproduction have looked at key turning points, this address argues that “small moments” may be critical in setting the direction of life paths.
Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science. Abundant research has demonstrated gender bias in many demographic groups, but has yet to experimentally investigate whether science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic science. In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants’ preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.
This chapter, which draws on recent work in psychology to demonstrate the socially situated nature of human intelligence, shows that intellectual performance is not simply lodged within individuals' high test scores, straight As are not owned by a person alone, and poor scores or bad grades are not only the student's responsibility. Rather, intellectual performance is an emergent property of persons and social situations—an interaction between the two. These findings suggest that conceptualizing “intelligence” as a stable property of individuals and a reliable way of distinguishing between them may be inappropriate.
Mindful of the mission and aspirations described above, the Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of the College,drafted a charge in May of 2014. The Working Group was to “assess Harvard College’s learning environment in order to ensure that all students benefit equally from its liberal arts educational and service mission.” The task included consulting with stakeholders across the University, incorporating research at the intersections of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other frames of identity and difference, and examining approaches at peer institutions in order to recommend models that might be applied or reimagined on Harvard’s campus.
Damon Williams, Joseph Berger, and Shederick McClendon offer a framework for comprehensive organizational change to help campuses achieve Inclusive Excellence. The authors review several dimensions of organizational culture that must be engaged to achieve this goal and discuss a method to help campuses monitor changes that might come from introducing new systems and new practices. The resulting framework, perhaps most importantly, helps campus leaders focus simultaneously on the “big picture” — an academy that systematically leverages diversity for student learning and institutional excellence — and the myriad individual pieces that contribute to that picture