The following are examples of how topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion have been integrated into Physics and Astronomy courses at Carleton.

Lab Organization

Lab Etiquette

In intro courses, students read a lab expectation document before starting their lab sessions. This document gives detailed expectations on the environment that the students should foster in labs.

Group Roles

For classes with group labs, students are assigned roles “Apparatus Meister,” “Notebook Meister,” or “Analysis Meister.” Each role is responsible for different components of the labs. The roles are switched every few weeks so that everyone can practice all the lab skills. This strategy resists bias in assigning lab roles and focuses on the pedagogical development of lab skills for all students

Reflection Elements

Reflection Pieces

A number of classes (e.g. PHYS 228) have reflection writing assignments. In these assignments, the students write about topics such as DEI in physics or the role of physics in society. The students are provided with some background reading and research questions to kick-start their reflection. These assignments are graded solely based on completion. Thus, the students would be less concerned about being penalized for saying the “wrong” thing.

Reflection Discussions

Some classes (e.g. PHYS 342) have discussion sessions regarding DEI within the physics community and the role of physics in society. These discussions are meant to increase the students’ awareness of these issues. They also provide a medium for students to exchange opinions and learn from each other.

Career Exploration

In PHYS 228, the students interview upper-level physics majors about their academic experiences. Similarly, in PHYS 231, the students interview physics alumni about their careers. Because the students can choose who they interview, these interviews can provide them with tailored information on their educational and career development.

History of Physics

Some classes introduce students to the historical aspect of physics. For example, students learn about and build trebuchets in PHYS 231 for the final project. Some professors also teach students about past DEI issues in the physics community such as the Harvard women “computers”. These topics help students better understand the role of physics in society and the importance of DEI in physics.