RIOS is funding 5 new Working Groups for Spring 2022!

We’ve selected five amazing ideas to be our new RIOS Working Groups for Spring 2022!

Our Working Groups are places where our community comes together to tackle a challenge, like an innovation sandbox or a think tank. Participants meet regularly to learn, innovate, and build new knowledge⁠ to share with RIOS membership (such as through a white paper or webinar). To support the projects, RIOS provides funding and mentoring from one of our team members.

We’re thrilled to finally be able to share these exciting ideas with you all. Here they are:

Reclaiming the Language of Advocacy

This group, led by RIOS Communications Fellow Jasmine Roberts-Crews, will explore how to be intentional in the language we use to discuss social justice issues and advocate for systemic change. We will also address how the language of advocacy can and has been weaponized to minimize the experiences of systematically excluded people, and to challenge movements for change. Through weekly readings and discussions, participants will build a white paper that identifies the role of language in framing social justice issues and provides recommendations for how to propose and advocate for systemic solutions. At the end of the Working Group, participants will also have the opportunity to revise the language guidelines used by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a major funder of biomed research and science education. Funding from both RIOS and HHMI will go towards compensating the organizers of the Working Group, as well as participants who contribute to the revision of the HHMI guidelines.

Broadening Representation and Recognition in STEM curricula with OERs

This group, proposed by Dr. Marja Bakermans, will explore how to use Open Education Resources (OER) as a tool for decolonization in STEM education. Participants will build a white paper that outlines using workshops for increasing the creation and adoption of OER that centers marginalized people, incentivizing faculty use of these OER, and promoting decolonized and inclusive OER designed by the team. Following the Working Group, the team plans to expand their work into a full NSF grant proposal. Thanks to RIOS’ funding, the Working Group members will be able to recruit peer consultants to evaluate the project and compensate them for their work.

The Inner Landscape of Critical Thinking: Building Learning Ecosystems for STEM Students’ Wicked Competencies

This group, proposed by Dr. Mays Imad, will tackle how acknowledging and incorporating emotions into the classroom⁠—instead of falsely asserting that learning is purely logical⁠—can improve students’ experiences. “Critical feeling,” then, is a skill that needs to be cultivated by lessons, alongside and intertwined with critical thinking. Dr. Imad’s Working Group will create a concept paper that asks what critical feeling looks like in the STEM classroom, and how students respond to this frame of learning. RIOS’ funding will go towards compensating team members for their time spent on this project.

A Culturally Responsive Instructor Training Curriculum

This group, proposed by Elizabeth Besozzi, will work on revising and expanding the CODE Workshop, a series of computer science events for students from marginalized groups. This workshop was previously developed by several members of the Working Group, and provides not just data analysis experience, but also peer mentorship for attendees. Working Group participants will build a culturally responsive training curriculum for CODE Workshop instructors, and a grant proposal to support ongoing and future iterations of the workshop. RIOS’ funding will be used to compensate Indigenous participants and external consultants for their expertise. This Working Group is also supported by matching funds from the Oklahoma University Office of the Vice President, and the Corix Plains Institute.

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) OER Initiative: The IDEA Framework

This group, proposed by Dr. Michelle Pilati, will further develop a framework for the development of inclusive, diverse, equitable, and anti-racist (IDEA) OER. This framework provides tools for faculty to choose and improve existing OER for their courses. Participants in the Working Group will solicit and incorporate feedback on the IDEA Framework, and use that to revise it. RIOS’ funding, along with matching funds from the ASCC OERI, will go towards compensating the team members for their work. Dr. Pilati is currently looking for additional participants for this Working Group; if you are interested, please sign up on their website! For questions about this project, contact Karen Cangialosi (

We can't wait to see what comes out of these teams! One of our previous groups, which explored possibilities for metadata systems which support inclusive and anti-racist OER, is now working on a NSF grant to expand their work! You can read about that team’s insights from their experience on our News Blog.

To keep up to date with findings from this year’s Working Groups, as well as future opportunities, be sure to join RIOS and follow us on Twitter!

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