Towards a more diverse and equitable physics graduate program
Dr. Danny Caballero
Michigan State University
In-person in Smith Seminar Room (1080 Smith), masks required
Faculty Host: Rolando Valdes Aguilar
Abstract: Physics departments have a moral imperative to address the historical and continued systemic inequities in our community. Women, people of color, LBGTQIA+ folks, veterans, persons with disabilities, and those who hold intersecting identities from those communities are not well-represented in physics programs or as graduates of physics programs. This is a complex issue, but we can point to research that indicates that, in many cases, the culture of physics excludes those folks from participating. While there are many places where we can effect change, our work has focused on graduate physics programs. At Michigan State University (MSU), we have begun a conscious effort to reconstruct our graduate physics program with an eye towards a more supportive and inclusive program. In this talk, we will situate our efforts in the larger narrative of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEM while presenting the specific changes that we have made to the MSU admissions process. Our research and development efforts include investigations into patterns of admission including how our rubric-based holistic review process has affected those patterns. Our work has focused on the graduate admissions process, but we are actively working to effect change in the graduate program itself. This work has been supported by MSU’s College of Natural Science and the Lappan-Phillips Foundation.
More about Dr. Caballero:
Marcos (Danny) Caballero is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering. He holds the Lappan-Phillips Chair of Physics Education, co-directs the Physics Education Research Lab, serves as a principal investigator for the Learning Machines Lab, conducts research as part of the newly-founded Computational Education Research Lab, and holds an appointment as research faculty at the University of Oslo’s Center for Computing in Science Education. Danny studies how tools and science practices affect student learning in physics and computational science, and the conditions and environments that support or inhibit this learning.
Danny earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He worked on opto-microfluidics transport and control experiments at the Georgia Institute of Technology earning his M.S. in physics before shifting his research focus to physics education. He helped found the Georgia Tech Physics Education Research group in 2007 and earned the first physics education focused Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in 2011 working on computational modeling instruction and practice. Danny moved to the University of Colorado Boulder as a postdoctoral researcher and helped transform upper-division physics courses to more active learning environments.
Danny conducts research from the high school to the upper-division and is particularly interested in how students learn through their use of tools such as mathematics and computing. His work employs cognitive and sociocultural theories of learning and aims to blend these perspectives to enhance physics and computational science instruction at all levels. His projects range from the fine-grained (e.g., how students engage with particular computational ideas) to the course-scale (e.g., what kind of computing students are able to do after instruction) to the very broad (e.g., how do departments value computation). His work includes the use of data science to address questions in STEM education.
Please use the Zoom link below to attend virtually:
Meeting ID: 948 5830 7115