The lack of diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is a significant issue for the sector. Many organisations and educators have identified lack of representation of historically marginalised groups within teaching materials as a potential barrier to students feeling that a STEM career is something that they can aspire to. A key barrier to addressing the issue is providing accessible and effective evidence-based approaches for educators to implement. In this study, we explore the potential for adapting presentation slides within lectures to ‘humanise’ the scientists involved, presenting their full names and photographs alongside a Harvard style reference. We adopt a questionnaire based methodology, and survey 161 undergraduates and postgraduates at a UK civic university. We first establish that students project implicit biases onto a hypothetical reference, with over 50% of students assuming the scientist was male and Western. We then explore what students think of the ‘humanised’ slide design, concluding that most students see it as good pedagogical practice, with some students positively changing their perceptions about diversity in science. We were unable to compare responses by ethnicity, but find evidence that female and non-binary students are more likely to see this as good pedagogical practice, perhaps reflecting white male fragility in being exposed to initiatives designed to highlight diversity. We conclude that humanised powerpoint slides are a potentially effective tool to highlight diversity of scientists within existing research-led teaching, but highlight that this is only a small intervention that needs to sit alongside more substantive work to address the lack of diversity in STEM.
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How ‘humanised’ slides used during lectures could take away some of our deep-rooted assumptions and help to celebrate diversity within STEM.Was this evaluation helpful?