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Small Group Learning Communities

The purpose of Small Group Learning Communities (SGLC) grants is to develop a university-wide network of faculty, staff, and students to explore and discover ideas about intersectionality and Black women and girls.  In the context of such communities, participants are encouraged to engage in reading scholarly and non-academic materials focused on Black and women and girls and present their learning.

Each year, we invite faculty, students, and staff to apply for small funding opportunities to support such Small Group Learning Communities. Faculty include tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure stream. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Vanderbilt University are eligible to apply. Staff include administrators, office, dining area, facilities, etc. For more information, please see the call for proposals for academic year 2020-2021 here.

These learning communities can take on various forms. Below are listed examples of previously funded SGLCs:

Grantee: Sarah Jones, graduate student in Department of Teaching and Learning

SGLC: #BlackGirlLitMagic: A Research-Based Book Club for Pre-Service Teachers

Description: Through participation in this small group learning community, pre-service teachers will be better prepared to not only think critically about the books they make available to students through their instruction and in their classroom libraries and the implicit and explicit messages these books are sending to students about what it means to be a Black girl, but also to become advocates in the fight to diversify children’s literature. Gould proposed to recruit 5-7 pre-service teachers from several courses offered at Peabody. The general structure of the group consisted of reading 1-2 scholarly articles and at least one popular, contemporary children’s literature text featuring a Black girl protagonist prior to each meeting. The group met four times over the course of the semester, with each meeting lasting one hour.

Grantee: Shameka Cathey, graduate student in Divinity School

SGLC: The Yam Collective

Brief Description: The YAM Collective at the Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS), a two-year project will result in the creation of a small group learning community that centers the learning experiences of black women at VDS (and beyond). The project will be accomplished by providing a monthly series of fifteen (15) gatherings for twelve (12) black women students, faculty, and staff at VDS (and beyond). The benefit of this project will impact the lives of black women and girls by providing them with the necessary tools to create a rich and sacred learning environment that highlights the contributions of black women and girls.

Grantee: Katrina Ngo, graduate student and Member of Inclusivity in the Biological Sciences Association

SGLC: Flipbook Chronicling the Experiences of Black Women in STEM

Brief Description: This SGLC is made up of two parts: 1) the generation of materials detailing the experiences of Black women in STEM, and 2) the dissemination of these materials in and around the Vanderbilt community in Nashville, TN.  The organization Inclusivity in the Biological Sciences Association (IBA) will be responsible for the planning and execution of this project.

Grantee: Elleansar Okwei, Finance Committee Chair of NOBCChe, graduate student in Chemistry Department

SGLC: National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Black Women-focused Professional Development and Community Outreach

Brief Description: This proposal had two components. 1) Breakout professional session for the Women of NOBCChE. This session focused on career objectives and opportunities for black women in chemistry and chemical engineering. From the NOBCChE and Local ACS Section of the Nashville network, two or three Black career women were invited from different sectors (academia, industry and/or government) to discuss their struggles and successes with younger STEM women to better prepare them for the future. 2) STEM outreach partnership between East Nashville High School and the NOBCChE Nashville chapter. This partnership involves hands-on scientific demonstrations, tutoring, and/or presentations from NOBCChE members. An extension of this goal would be to have an afterschool science club activity targeting Black high school girls to spark their interest in STEM. This will increase awareness and interest in scientific research, chemistry, chemical engineering, and biomedical sciences among Black high school girls.