COSM Diversity & Inclusion News

February 2021


The Diversity & Inclusion newsletter is delivered monthly via email during the fall and spring semesters and is always available on the new COSM D&I webpage. Send contributions and suggestions to any of the COSM D&I Ambassadors listed at the bottom of this newsletter and on the webpage.

Diversity Quote of the Month

"Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege. I want to live in a world where all women have access to education, and all women can earn PhD’s, if they so desire. Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.  bell hooks, Amalia Mesa-Bains (2017). “Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism”

"Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege. I want to live in a world where all women have access to education, and all women can earn PhD’s, if they so desire. Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it."

- bell hooks, Amalia Mesa-Bains (2017). “Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism”,

In Honor of Black History Month

Short Wave, an NPR podcast, released an episode in 2020 celebrating Black excellence in science. They provided links to five prior episodes where they interviewed or talked about the work of some wonderful Black scientists in STEM.

RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, put together an article highlighting some African Americans with Disabilities in honor of Black History Month in 2018.

Here are a few research/lib guides on Black Heritage and BLM/racial injustice.

Georgia Southern:

Kalamazoo College:

Fact Fuel for Data Conversations

Two partial pie charts. The first is yellow, showing that 28% of students with disabilities are science and engineering majors. The second is blue, showing that 28% of students without disabilities are science and engineering majors

In 2016, 19.5% of undergraduate students reported a disability. Undergraduates with one or more disabilities are more likely to be age 30 or older than those without a disability and are more likely to attend a 2-year institution. Note that comparing the share of students with one or more disabilities over time is complicated by changes in survey questions that have resulted in an increase in the share of students with reported disabilities.

In addition, 28% of undergraduate students with one or more disabilities were enrolled in a science and engineering (S&E) field, the same proportion as those without disabilities. Compared with undergraduates without disabilities, those with one or more disabilities were less likely to receive financial aid (73% versus 71%) and were less likely to be enrolled full time for a full year at one institution (34% versus 30%).

COSM Community D&I Spotlight

Dr. Sabrina Hessinger is a Professor of Mathematics currently serving as Interim Chair in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Inclusive excellence, particularly, that which serves women and under-represented minorities in STEM, has been a priority for Dr. Hessinger dating back to graduate school. At that time she served as a mentor for middle school girls, was a co-director of a national summer program for high school girls called Meredith Math Week, and began developing her inclusive teaching skills, before they were widely accepted as such. Her efforts to expand participation, persistence, and advancement of underrepresented groups in STEM have infused her teaching, scholarship and service. Two areas of focus are inclusive teaching and creating communities in order to bring research-based inclusive practices to scale in both K-12 and higher education. Beginning in 2003, Dr. Hessinger was afforded opportunities to lead a series of funded grants and programs which provided the chance to develop, study, and share best practices in these areas of inclusive excellence locally, regionally and nationally. Her roles have included serving as Co-PI for Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) a comprehensive NSF Math Science Partnership (MSP) grant, PI for PRISM Phase II: Research on Key PRISM Strategies, Co-PI for NSF STEP: Bridging the Gap: Using Research and Learning Communities to Increase STEM Majors at AASU, PI for Noyce MASTERS: Math and Science Teacher Education Readiness Scholarships, and PI for the USG STEM Initiative award to Armstrong State University.

Her current activities in support of diversity and inclusion are focused on expanding the Alliance for Women in STEM, which she founded in 2015 with an amazing group of students and COSM colleagues, and taking on a leadership role in establishing and facilitating our COSM D&I Collaborative. Through the Alliance for Women in STEM she has orchestrated forums such as Women in STEM: Real Reasons and Simple Solutions to Persistent Under-Representation, Implicit Bias: Yes you have it too!, Depiction of STEM Women in the Media, and The Who, What, How and Why of STEM Girls Clubs in High Schools, and she is looking forward to the new possibilities for that group under a leadership team of COSM faculty and students from multiple campuses.

Dr. Sabrina Hessinger hosting the Women in STEM Industry Luncheon on Armstrong Campus with Dean Nivens and STEM professionals (from Gulfstream, O'Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc., Customs and Border Protection Laboratory, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation). She is seen 3rd from the left in a black and green shirt.

Dr. Sabrina Hessinger hosting the Women in STEM Industry Luncheon on Armstrong Campus with Dean Nivens and STEM professionals

Try This! – Teaching Tip

Have you taken a moment to check out CTE’s teaching materials, workshops, or register for the online training course (TOC)? If not, here are some links to a few resources. CTE Guide for Teaching Online, Workshop Calendar, and Teaching Online Course Program (TOC)

While you might not be teaching exclusively online, some adjustments to the accessibility or inclusive practices of your face-to-face course can improve the student experience overall. One way to make your course more accessible and inclusive for students is to provide materials in advance, provide open education resources (OER), or provide supplemental materials to enhance the active learning experience. You should remember to check if these resources are 504/508 compliant.

This Month's Theme: Accessibility

When you think of accessibility, are you only considering physical accessibility? What about differentiation of learning for students with differences in ability, social status, or accommodations for those who have unseen disabilities? There are various aspects to accessibility, which might encompass financial, location, ability, and cultural differences.

Professors Assess Fall Instruction and the Impact on Students:

As we reflect on how we can make our classes more inclusive and accessible, I suggest taking a look at this article which links to a report assessing the impact of COVID on introductory courses in 2020.

“College faculty members finished the fall semester feeling more confident in their online teaching and their institutions' support for them, but they were also exhausted -- and deeply concerned about their students, especially those from groups that are historically disadvantaged in higher education.”

AccessSTEM Project by DO-IT Center at the University of Washington:

“AccessSTEM helps students with disabilities succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and reach critical junctures on paths toward college studies and careers in STEM. AccessSTEM shares promising practices to help K-12 teachers, postsecondary faculty, and employers make classroom and employment opportunities in STEM accessible to individuals with disabilities.” This resource discusses the universal design (UD) framework, as well as offering resources for best practices in inclusive learning opportunities. UD Toolkit in Higher Edu. Book

Is Lecturing Racist?

“For colleges to achieve antiracism, equity and inclusion, one of the most effective actions will be for professors to stop talking so much in their classrooms, argue Scott Freeman and Elli Theobald.” This article takes a look at how traditional modes of lecture may disadvantage some students, especially those who face accessibility challenges.

Upcoming Events and Georgia Southern Resources

Reflective Moment

Have you heard of Universal Design for Learning or UDL? Below is a short video introducing the concept of UDL in higher learning and how it can benefit students’ learning experience. (2:09 mins)

UDL in Higher Education
If you are currently delivering content to your students through Folio or another online platform, consider reflecting if the material meets these tips for Online Teaching: Accessibility. (1:59 mins)
Quick & Dirty Tips for Online Teaching: Accessibility

D&I Campus Connections and Opportunities

STEM Organizations

University Opportunities:

External Opportunities

Big picture

Something you'd like to see? We'd love to hear from you.

Brigette, Karelle, and Ryan lead the COSM Diversity & Inclusion webpage & newsletter team. They’d love to hear from you, and you can also contact any of your COSM D&I Ambassadors if you would like to contribute to or comment on the newsletter - or discuss other D&I issues. The webpage also includes information on becoming an ambassador yourself.

COSM Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Leaders

  • Arpita Saha - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Brandon Quillian - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Karelle Aiken - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Sabrina Hessinger - Mathematics


  • Amanda Klingel

  • Brian Koehler

  • Issac Taylor


  • Brigette Brinton

  • Geneva DeMars

  • Jennifer Brofft-Bailey

  • Johanne Lewis

  • Justin Montemarano

  • Marylou Machingura

  • Sara Gremillion

  • Sue Ellen Dechenne-Peters

Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Arpita Saha

  • Brandon Quillian

  • Brent Feske

  • Debanjana Ghosh

  • Karelle Aiken

  • Ryan Groom

  • Shainaz Landge

Geology & Geography

  • Amy Potter

  • Rob Yarbrough

  • Kathlyn Smith


  • Duc Van Huynh

  • Eryn Stehr

  • Jim Brawner

  • Kyle Bradford

  • Sabrina Hessinger

  • Stephanie Wiggins

  • Tuyin An

Physics & Astronomy

  • Hua-Jian Jason Liu