The digital publication of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)

Dimensions, September/October 2018—Broadening Participation


September/October 2018

The articles in this issue feature organizations and individuals who have worked to broaden participation in some way. Broadening participation is widely regarded as a worthy goal in our industry, but to what end? Why does broader participation matter?

It matters because we need the best innovators, nurses, and engineers. But we also need preschool teachers, lawyers, and retail salespeople who understand basic scientific principles. People who value science are less susceptible to demagogues and make us safer, smarter, and stronger societies. We’re building a future where everyone is included in science. It’s a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Who and what are we talking about when we talk about broadening participation? We’re talking about diversity: not just in skin tone but also in gender, income levels, nationality, culture, education, sexual orientation, and abilities. We’re talking about equity: leveling the playing field so that we all have a fair shake at making valuable contributions and benefiting from the results. We’re talking about accessibility: for those with challenges such as blindness, missing limbs, traumatic brain injury, autism, mental illness, or any kind of physical condition that requires special help or equipment. We’re talking about inclusion: reaching out to people we didn’t even realize we were excluding, opening channels of communication to all, eliminating even unintentional barriers to full participation.

  • Access Isn’t Enough, by the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education’s Broadening Participation Task Force
  • Learning Cultural Competence, by Jenni Martin
  • EVOLUTIONS, by Andrea Motto
  • Listening to a Broader Audience, by Kristin Leigh
  • Hidden Women, by Tone Rasch
  • A Rural Navajo Reservation Makerspace, by Jennifer Miller, Thomas Tomas, Nancy C. Maryboy, and David Begay
  • Seeing the Potential: Creating Inclusive Environments for Staff with Disabilities, by Meghan Schiedel
  • Since Time Immemorial…, by Tracy Calogheros
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