There's a lot happening at RIOS! Since our launch in early 2021, we have been working hard to advance our mission. There are several ways to keep up with our work:

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RIOS is funding 5 new Working Groups for Spring 2022!

March 28, 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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Announcing our second Spring 2022 Learning Community: Difficult dialogues of social inequities in STEM classrooms

March 18, 2022

Summary: Join us for a new, 5-session, Learning Community on "Difficult dialogues of social inequities in STEM classrooms." We will explore the need and successful strategies for students and instructors to discuss scholarship about marginalization within STEM courses. The learning community will meet from April 6 - May 31 on Zoom. Register here:


Please join us for a 5-session Learning Community series led by Dr. Bryan Dewsbury and Dr. Desiree Forsythe in which participants will engage in discussions, short readings and mini-workshops to explore difficult dialogues of social inequities in STEM classrooms.

Instructors engaging students in diverse STEM content should possess the language and tools to enact difficult dialogues. It is critical for these instructors to be intellectually and emotionally ready to enact that facilitation. Put differently, it is simply not enough to provide instructors with diversified STEM course materials, it is also important for the instructors themselves to be comfortable with the scholarship pertaining to marginalization as it provides the appropriate framing and contextualization for those materials. In this learning community, we explore the basis of, and need for, dialogic approaches and, using STEM content, demonstrate ways in which students and instructors can experience formative examples of equity-minded discourse and practice.

Please see the dates, times, and topics for the Learning Community below:

Please complete the short registration form:

More details can be found on our Learning Community page:

For questions about logistics, contact Kaitlin Bonner ( who is the RIOS support member for this project.

Remember to join RIOS to stay updated on this and future Learning Community opportunities!