2017 Southern California PKAL Regional Network Annual Meeting

Broadening Participation and Persistence in College STEM: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

March 25, 2017
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093

Important Dates:
Call for proposals: January 16, 2017 (CLOSED)
Registration opens: February 1, 2017
Registration closes: March 1, 2017
Poster abstracts due with registration

University of California San Diego, in partnership with MiraCosta College and University of California Irvine, is proud to host the 2017 Southern California PKAL Regional Network Annual meeting. The SoCAL Network welcomes to our events all staff, students (graduate and undergraduate), postdocs, and administrators, in addition to teaching and research faculty. 

In recent years, a number of comprehensive STEM education reports have highlighted the importance of improving undergraduate education. Specifically, two recent publications call for creating inclusive learning environments to expand underrepresented student participation in STEM (NAS, 2011) and for examining barriers and opportunities in the transition between two- and four-year STEM degree programs (NAS, 2016). Increasingly, campuses across the country have become more attuned to inclusion, equity, and diversity issues in undergraduate STEM education.

Members of the SoCal PKAL network are strong proponents of increasing the quality and expansiveness of STEM education at our institutions. However, there is little to no formalized training for STEM education practitioners to create inclusive classroom learning environments that benefit all students and markedly broaden participation and persistence in STEM for non-traditional students. There is also a need for more comprehensive awareness of the bridging and sustaining strategies and partnerships needed to support community college transfer students enrolled in STEM, with the goals of lessening transfer gap problems, reducing culture shock adjustments, and improving learning outcomes for these students.

This meeting has been designed as a one-day summit to engage two- and four-year faculty and administration leadership in recognizing, advancing, and supporting inclusive and equitable practices in STEM education in the classroom, in organizational culture, and between institutions. A plenary session, on equity, inclusion, and transfer given by Dr. Dustin Thoman (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University) will launch the meeting. Dynamic and active workshops will engage participants in creating concrete plans for inclusive instructional practices in the classroom, building institutional capacity for equity and inclusion, and reducing transfer risks. Interactive poster presentations will help build connections and foster collaborations among colleagues from different institutions and institutional types in the Southern California area.

Overall, this program aims to empower meeting participants to develop more inclusive learning environments at local institutions in Southern California. The meeting will help build capacities in our community to improve our teaching practices not only through existing literature but also by sharing ideas and building connections across two- and four-year institutions, with a focus of broadening participation and persistence in STEM.

Event Inquiries 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the conference organizers: Dr. Stanley Lo (smlo@ucsd.edu), Dr. Lisa McDonnell (lmcdonnell@ucsd.edu), Dr. Melinda Riccitelli (mriccitelli@miracosta.edu), Dr. Brian Sato (bsato@uci.edu). 


  • National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12984.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees: Systemic Change to Support Students' Diverse Pathways. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21739.