Diversity and Your Department

Resources for addressing diversity and inclusion

Tag: Introductory Courses


Eddy, S. L., Brownell, S. E., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Gender Gaps in Achievement and Participation in Multiple Introductory Biology Classrooms. Cbe-Life Sciences Education, 13(3), 478–492. (PDF)

Although enrollment in undergraduate biology courses are mostly even in regards to gender, this study finds that women underperform in discussion and test scores, which they argue is evidence of gender bias still being in play, in subtler ways. This article is good for professors who want to think deeply about the dynamics at play within their classrooms.


Popejoy, K., & Asala, K. S. (2013). A Team Approach to Successful Learning: Peer Learning Coaches in Chemistry. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(3), 18–23. (PDF)

This article looks at why so many students fail and drop out of introductory chemistry courses. It then proposes a method, "Team Approach to Successful Learning", that engages students in peer learning and helps to raise test scores and retention. This article is recommended to any intro science instructor.


Jensen, Elizabeth J. and Ann L. Owen. "Pedagogy, Gender, and Interest in Economics." The Journal of Economic Education 32, Issue 4 (2001): 323­-343.  (PDF)

This study looked at the variables that influence women undergraduate students interest in taking economics course and in choosing economics as a major. Of particular interest is the authors' investigation into "how students' characteristics and attitudes interact with the instructor's pedagogy and certain departmental and college-level characteristics to influence students' decisions about pursuing economics."

General (Mathematics and Natural Sciences)

Lauer, S., Momsen, J., Offerdahl, E., Kryjevskaia, M., Christensen, W., & Montplaisir, L. (2013). Stereotyped: Investigating Gender in Introductory Science Courses. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 12(1), 30–38. (PDF)

This study examines introductory science courses, specifically courses in biochemistry and biology, which it argues are examined less than physics in terms of gender. Through experimentation, the researchers found that there is no significant achievement gaps between genders in introductory courses, and more research needs to be done to understand why women leave the field at a much higher rate than men.


Norlock, K. J. (2012). Gender perception as a habit of moral perception: Implications for philosophical methodology and introductory curriculum. Journal of Social Philosophy, 43, 347-362. (PDF)

Norlock ponders why so many female-gendered people drop out of philosophy courses after introductory courses, as opposed to farther down the pipeline. One common reason that inclusivity activists cite is that there is a lack of women on the syllabus for these intro courses. Norlock is remarkably even-handed in her analysis of these issues, humanizing both the advocates for inclusivity and their opponents. This is recommended for intro course instructors.

Political Science

Bos, Angela L., Erin C. Cassese, and Lauren E. Duncan. "Integrating Gender into the Political Science Core Curriculum." PS: Political Science & Politics 45, Issue 2 (April 2012): 238 - 243. (PDF)

The authors recommend "gender mainstreaming"–including gender politics within and throughout "mainstream" courses–so that all students can gain exposure without taking special courses, and conversely cannot choose to avoid diversity exposure. Gender mainstreaming could also encourage women to pursue political science as a major, where they currently make up less than half of the total number of students. Also discusses the ways in which gender­ based studies can serve as useful analytic tools, even where gender is not an immediately apparent factor. Includes a "mainstreaming strategies" section.

Bos, Angela L. and Erin C. Cassese. "A Hidden Curriculum? Examining the Gender Content in Introductory­ Level Political Science Textbooks." Politics & Gender 9, Issue 2 (June 2013):214-223. (PDF)

This article presents a thorough analysis of the gendered content in introductory political science textbooks. The findings show that women are more represented in sections on civil rights and there is little content addressing women's political behavior and involvement.


DeTemple, J. (2012). Home Is My Area Code: Thinking about, Teaching, and Learning Globalization in Introductory World Religions Classes. Teaching Theology & Religion, 15(1), 61-71. (PDF)

This article examines the benefits and challenges of discussing globalization within the context of an intro religion course. Although the students in DeTemple's class may have had more problems grasping the ideas of globalization than the average Reed class would, the article still provides potentially helpful insight into managing the varying worldviews that come together in an intro religion course.