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Paper: TEK and Inclusive Pedagogy Increase Retention and Success Outcomes of STEM Students

Updated: Nov 11

Alexiades, A., M Haeffner, D. Reano, M. Janis, J. Black, K. Sonoda, M. Howard, C. Fiander, and M. Buck. (2021). Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Inclusive Pedagogy Increase Retention and Success Outcomes of STEM Students. Bull Ecol Soc Am 102(4):e01924. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1924


The i-NATURE (Indigenous iNtegration of Aquatic sciences and Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Undergraduate culturally Responsive Education) is a culturally relevant, project-, and place-based curriculum that included extensive applied research experience contextualized for specific Indigenous communities. The program developed a model for incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into STEM undergraduate education which included direct participation of several Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. After implementation of the i-NATURE model, we tested whether the inclusive pedagogical strategies used in our intervention improved retention and learning outcomes for the students who participated in the i-NATURE program. We report a highly significant difference in annual retention and mean course grade point average in the Environmental Science and Studies Programs pre- and post-implementation of the i-NATURE curriculum. We also report an increase in student interest in pursuing STEM careers and the impacts of the i-NATURE curricula on two undergraduate participants. This study indicates that academic and research experiences in STEM higher education programming, that incorporates cultural relevant ways of knowing and is reflective of Indigenous community values, can improve student success outcomes and garner interest in pursuing STEM careers.


Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Inclusive Pedagogy Increase Retention and Success Outcomes of STEM Students
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