Broadening Participation Toolkit

A toolkit to support science engagement professionals who are developing strategic efforts to broaden participation in STEM

See Also Broadening Participation Portfolio on NSF.gov and
Broadening Participation Fact Sheet on NSF.gov.

To help informal STEM education (ISE) and science communication groups reflect on and strengthen their efforts to broaden participation in STEM, CAISE’s Broadening Participation in STEM Task Force has developed a suite of professional development tools. The National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (NSF AISL) program has an additional proposal review criterion on broadening participation if you are thinking about applying for funding.

If you are a staff leader or trainer working on broadening participation, these resources can help support your work. You can use them to plan and lead reflective discussions about current practices, with an eye to developing goals, strategies, and priorities that can make your ISE and science communication work more inclusive.

Download the entire toolkit: Broadening Perspectives on Broadening Participation in STEM (52 MB)

Browse and download individual parts of the toolkit below.

Download the Toolkit Overview

The Report

Jumpstart your thinking by reading Broadening Perspectives on Broadening Participation in STEM: A Summary Report. Drawing from both research and practice, it identifies four significant barriers that efforts to broaden participation in STEM must address.

It is intended for staff leaders and trainers who lead group discussions. We recommend reading this report before talking with your staff, your colleagues, or the professionals in your training programs, in order to inform your conversations with them.

In the staff meeting, we talked about what are three very specific things we can take from this that can be incorporated into the training.” — Project Director at a community science organization

Download the Summary Report

Summary for Stakeholders

Get stakeholders on board, by sharing this two-page summary with them. It describes why engaging in this work is valuable and can enhance the relevance and impact of your organization in its community.

It is intended for supervisors or board chairs, to increase their support for your efforts.

We made a list of community partners and why weren’t we partnering with them, and our Executive Director was excited — he said it was great to see things that he could present to a funder and have meaningful conversation with them about how we build our programs and what communities we still might want to serve.” — Vice President at a science center

Download the Summary for Stakeholders

Conversation Guide

Organize a series of group conversations to explore ideas and ways to strengthen your efforts to broaden participation. This conversation guide, which summarizes big-picture issues and includes tips for keeping the conversation moving, will help you prepare.

It is intended for staff leaders and trainers, to help you facilitate discussions about the ideas found in the report and briefs.

The reflection questions overall were very provoking. You could have multiple meetings on one brief around the reflection questions, by looking at one question at a time, moving from the more general to the specific.” — Exhibit Developer at a science museum

Download the Conversation Guide

Practice Briefs

Use practice briefs to seed reflective discussions about professional practices. Each of the briefs focuses on a specific topic that is relevant to broadening participation in STEM and includes ideas to consider, recommendations for action, further reading, and links to more tools.

They are intended for your staff, colleagues, or professional audiences/trainees to read in advance of the group conversations. We recommend organizing at least five discussions, each using one or two briefs that participants read in advance. Download each brief by clicking on them.

Why Broaden Perspectives on Broadening Participation in STEM?

What Does Learning Have to Do with Science Communication?

What Does Asset-Based STEM Learning Look Like?

What are the Cultural Norms of STEM and Why do they Matter?

What Counts as STEM?

How can We Help Scientists Adopt Equity Approaches to Science Communication?

What is a STEM Learning Ecosystem?

How Can We Re-Think Assumptions about Parent Engagement?

How can We Build on Existing Assets within a Community?

How can Institutions Model Inclusion in the Workplace?

What does Working "With" (not "For") Our Communities Look Like?

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within InformalScience.org are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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