What are Working Groups?

Working Groups can be convened by the RIOS Leadership team or proposed by RIOS community members to tackle a shared community challenge. These groups will function as innovation sandboxes or think tank incubators. In either of these formats, participants will bring new ideas and address challenges as they develop a tangible product by the end of the project period.

RIOS Working Group participants are active researchers and co-authors working together towards the construction of new knowledge (such as synthesis, pilot research, or translational work) to be disseminated in some way for the RIOS membership (such as through a white paper that may form the basis of a grant, a webinar, and/or a set of informational documents). To support this work, we offer funding for participant support, facilitator honoraria, and/or consultants. Working Groups are intended to meet regularly (weekly or biweekly) for no more than 3 months. Working Group leaders will be mentored and supported by a RIOS team member.


Have an exciting idea? We will be accepting proposals for new Working Groups in May 2022.


Current RIOS Working Groups

Reclaiming the Language of Advocacy (Spring 2022)

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 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) BioInteractive’s Inclusive Language Guide. 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 (Spring 2022)

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 (Spring 2022)

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 (Spring 2022)

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 (Spring 2022)

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.


Previous RIOS Working Groups

Tagging Ontologies Working Group (Summer 2021)

This group’s participants explored possibilities for metadata systems which support inclusive and anti-racist Open Education Resources (OER). How we design our OER databases, search functions, and other systems sends a message to the community about what we value pedagogically. The working group focused in part on how systems of labeling and searching (“tagging”) OER can encourage anti-racist and decolonizing curriculum submissions in postsecondary STEM education. At the end of the working group period, the team produced a one-pager that became the basis of a full NSF grant. Following the conclusion of the working group, several group members, along with a few new individuals with additional expertise, finalized and submitted the grant. You can read about that team’s insights from their experience on our News Blog.