Gibbs College Faculty to Present during “Understanding Inequity, Advancing Equity” Event, Dec. 7th & 8th

The University of Oklahoma is pleased to host “Understanding Inequity, Advancing Equity,” a free, two-day, virtual symposium from 3:30 – 6 p.m. CST Dec. 7 and 8. Registration is required.

Gibbs College faculty participating include Vanessa Morrison (Institute for Quality Communities), Deborah Richards (Architecture), Aujean Lee (Regional and City Planning), and Laura Harjo (Regional and City Planning Affiliate Faculty). OU faculty presenters will be joined by two keynote presenters, Dr. Iheoma Iruka, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Dr. Shari Watkins, American University.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Arts and Humanities Forum, and the Early Childhood Education Institute.


3:30-4:45 p.m.: Presentations

  • “Inequities Start Early: Secondary Analysis to Investigate Associations Among Neighborhood Factors and the Development of Executive Function in Young Children” by Sherri Castle, Diane Horm, Shinyoung Jeon, & Liz Frechette (Early Childhood Education Institute, OU-Tulsa)
  • “Not Disposable: Disability, Ableism and Stigma in Oklahoma” by Aparna Nair (History of Science), Laura Martin (Oklahoma Historical Society), Ronald Schleifer (English), & Erin Taylor (Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council)
  • “Machine Learning Methods to Understand and Identify Health Disparity Outcomes Among Women in Minority Groups” by Zuber Mulla (Texas Tech University) & Talayeh Razzaghi (Industrial & Systems Engineering)
  • “Community Led Policy and Design: A Multidisciplinary Think Tank” by Andrea Benjamin (African & African American Studies), Vanessa Morrison & Deborah Richards (Architecture)

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Keynote

“Ensuring Youth Wellbeing and Excellence Through a Racial Equity Lens” by Iheoma U. Iruka, Research Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Race, ethnicity, language, ability, and zip code should not determine a youth’s trajectory, opportunity, and eventual life success. Addressing the opportunity gaps and the education debt that leads to disparities through a racial equity and intersectionality lens must go beyond gap-gazing at disparities and inequities and blaming youth and families. A sole focus on disparities without consideration of the root causes will continue to ensure the permanency of inequities and disparities. This keynote will delve into how researchers in collaboration with practitioners and policymakers can begin incorporating a racial equity and intersectionality lens to dismantle systemic barriers to opportunities, wellbeing, and excellence.

5:15-6 p.m.: Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by Dr. Laura Harjo, associate professor of Native American Studies


3:30-4:45 p.m.: Presentations

  • “Understanding Intersectional Inequalities in Postsecondary Education: Education, Retention, Connectedness, Black Women, and STEM” by Handan Acar (Biomedical Engineering), Zermarie Deacon (Human Relations), and Dorothy Nkhata (Oklahoma State University)
  • “Identifying Inequities and Cultural Biases within A&GS to Facilitate Inclusivity and Improving Student Experiences” by John Scott Greene (Geography & Environmental Sustainability), Petra Klein (Meteorology), Daphne Ladue (Center for Analysis & Prediction of Storms), Elinor Martin (Meteorology), and Cassandra Shivers-Williams (Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies)
  • “Effectiveness of Computing in Modern Biology Workshops for Broadening Participation in STEM” by Jeff Kelly, Sara Mata, Hayley Lanier, Katie Marske, and Laura Stein (Biology)
  • “Systemic Racial and Gender Disparities in the Academic Research Enterprise and Hiring Networks in an Applied Field: A Case Study of Urban Planning” by Aujean Lee (Regional & City Planning)

4:45-5:15 p.m.: Keynote

“Creating Equitable STEM Environments” by Shari Watkins, Research Fellow, Center for Teaching, Research and Learning, American University, Washington, DC

Despite calls to broaden participation and increase diversity in STEM, many groups such as African Americans remain underrepresented in STEM disciplines and careers. Employing critical perspectives, structures, policies, and pedagogy can lead to the development of supportive STEM communities. This keynote will consider the ways scholars through their teaching and research can create equitable STEM environments.

5:15-6 p.m.: Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by Dr. Kirsten Edwards, associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies