TERC envisions a future in which learners from diverse backgrounds, abilities, perspectives, and challenges engage in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives. To accomplish this, we deeply believe our ideologies and practices must be grounded in a thorough, foundational understanding of the following at all organizational levels:
A community of varied identities brings unique perspectives, abilities, interests, and experiences that are essential to informing and enhancing STEM education research; diversity is more expansive than a group of protected classes. TERC’s research strives to broaden participation of underrepresented populations, perspectives, and experiences to illustrate how diversity enriches creativity, problem solving/critical thinking, and meaning-making within STEM learning. By valuing diversity in our workplace and those we serve, we will improve math and science education for all, which is a cornerstone of preserving democratic society.
Fairness in operational practices, procedures, distribution of opportunities, and resources eliminates disparities in the workplace and the communities we serve. To achieve educational equity, TERC strives to create equal access to STEM education opportunities for all learners. This necessitates examining marginalization, practicing cultural competence and cultural humility, challenging implicit and explicit biases, and deconstructing systemic and historic structures of power, privilege and inequity.
Inclusion & Belonging
Nurturing equity within education is contingent on the notion that diversity belongs in our greater society. Belonging represents an internal belief that all, regardless of background, perspective or challenge, invaluably contribute to society and are entitled to a place within it and all of the rights and privileges contained therein. Inclusion embodies the actions we take as an organization to reinforce this belief in our research and in the communities we serve. To broaden our societal impact, we respect the identities of, and seek participation from all education partners. Internally, we include and value all perspectives in decision-making processes that affect our policies and practices.
TERC is committed to modeling how diversity, equity and inclusion can improve STEM education and research practices to engender inclusive learning environments and equitable outcomes for all. Removing the inequities surrounding science and mathematics enterprises not only fosters social justice, but also inculcates robust and creative inquiry capable of benefitting humanity. To provide informed, authentic leadership in our research and workplace environments, TERC strives to do the following:
- Examine how societal, systemic inequities (e.g. race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.) impact broadening participation and access to STEM education, and how best to address these issues in a manner consistent with our mission to build STEM literacy.
- Explore underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusion (i.e., bias, racial inequity, etc.).
- Establish new, mutually beneficial and inclusive relationships with historically marginalized educational communities.
- Include and value diverse voices in the creation of policies, procedures, practices and our research.
- Dedicate time and resources for recruitment and retention of diverse talent and leadership.
- Encourage and practice transparent, civil communication in all interactions
TERC commits to the following action items to achieve these goals in our work, workplace, and the community:
- Offer substantive learning and professional development opportunities (e.g. training/workshops, speaker-series, book/article/video discussions) to broaden the social justice impact of research and educate the organization on working with underrepresented populations.
- Employ its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council to survey partnerships with schools, community-based organizations, education research initiatives, etc. to assess our outreach (especially in marginalized populations).
- Build trustworthy, mutually beneficial relationships that prioritize the needs and interests of our community partners and stakeholders while supporting research goals and proposal development.
- Host and participate in community events to promote STEM education outreach.
- Increase diverse representation of research and administrative staff by establishing relationships with undergraduate, graduate programs and recruitment resources (e.g. HERC, Harvard Graduate School of Education, etc.).
- Prioritize recruitment and hiring of historically underrepresented talent, especially in STEM education or STEM disciplines (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, etc.).
- Establish (and support) mentoring and internship opportunities (e.g. TERC Scholars Program) for research and administrative staff not only from underrepresented backgrounds, but also across a vast array of academic/professional expertise, perspectives, goals, and research interests.
- Create an annual progress report of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to be disseminated internally and then made available for download on our website (to be completed by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).
Finally, we acknowledge this statement is an initial, but significant step toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. While we must consistently evaluate and re-evaluate such initiatives to align with TERC’s greater vision and role within STEM education research, we consider these principles and goals essential to TERC’s greater mission, and the responsibility of all TERC staff and community (Board of Trustees, Research Staff, Administration, Stakeholders).