Five students study together at a table in a library study room


Participation in HHMI Sponsored learning communities engages and empowers Oberlin employees in the change process, deepens their understanding of strategies for leading organizational transformation, and provides an avenue for cross-fertilization and mutual support across the College.

​ YEAR 4, 2020-2021


  • Regular DART meetings bringing together current DARTs (Geology, Psychology, and Computer Science) to workshop future vision together

  • DARTs begin implementation of new learning strategies & procedures within their departments / classrooms

  • 2 STEM community lunches open to all departments sharing DEI work during pandemic

  • Student Leadership Committee engagement with the DART process

  • 3 Student Listening sessions focused around upcoming 4 DART disciplines

FALL 2020

  • 5-day Summer IDEAL workshop to learn how to have effective conversations.

  • Monthly DART meetings & workshops on future planning with current 3 departments

  • Intergroup Dialogue series continued reading Race Talk: The conspiracy of Silence

YEAR 3, 2019-2020


  • The Intergroup Dialogue Series for faculty and staff returned, led by CLEAR and the MRC, this time focusing on Derald Wing Sue's Race Talk: Conspiracy of Silence

  • Departmental Action and Reflection Team (DART) members for began planning work starting in the fall of 2020

  • The HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative at Oberlin hosted a reading group for a group of 12 faculty and staff from several departments met throughout the semester, centered on student sense of belonging on college campuses.

  • Terrell Strayhorn's College Students' Sense of Belonging was a guide for discussion. 

FALL 2019

  • Faculty and staff from Kenyon College and Oberlin College participated in the second Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching held at Oberlin College in August 2019.

  • New question prompting tenure and other promotion candidates to describe pedagogical innovations, inclusive learning and other DEI efforts, they've undertaken added to !

  • Intergroup Dialogue lead by CLEAR and the MRC series for 25 faculty and staff across 20 departments discussing issues of diversity and inclusion at Oberlin College.

  • Built trust across departments, employment classes and social identities

  • Worked to increase the retention and persistence of historically unserved populations.

  • Low-barrier faculty and staff reading group centered on research literature pertaining to diversity and inclusion in higher education.

A man gives a presentation to a group of faculty and staff about Inclusive Excellence at Oberlin College.

Marcelo Vinces, former Director of CLEAR, presents to a gathering of HHMI learning community members in Oberlin's StudiOC during the 2017-18 academic year.

An audience sits at rows of white tables listening to a presentation by two women.

Faculty and staff participating in the HHMI learning communities at Oberlin College gather in StudiOC for an update on the HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative's ongoing projects at Oberlin. 

Two women stand at the front of a conference room delivering information about a meeting agenda.

Nicollette Mitchell, Former Director of CLEAR, and Marta Laskowski, Professor of Biology and Director of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence Grant at Oberlin, present to the HHMI learning communities in StudiOC.

YEAR 2, 2018-2019


Three learning communities met monthly with a Key aim to revising faculty personnel forms relating:

  • to tenure and promotion

  • to recognize faculty undertaking inclusive-excellence efforts

  • to provide greater institutional visibility and value to inclusive excellence.

Building on their separate work in 2017-18 and fall 2018, the learning communities on Incentivizing Inclusive Practices and Inclusive Pedagogies met jointly in early 2019 to discuss proposed changes. The HHMI leadership team drafted language reflecting their work. The revised materials were vetted by the larger HHMI Advisory Board and sent to the College Faculty Council (CFC), the elected faculty body chaired by the Dean of Arts and Sciences that oversees tenure and promotion.


FALL 2018

During August 2018, faculty and staff from Kenyon College and Oberlin College, including many members of the Departmental Action and Reflection Teams, participated in the first Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching held at Oberlin College.


Three learning communities met bi-weekly to discuss:

  • Incentivizing Inclusive Practices

  • Collaboration and Communication Across Departments

  • Inclusive Pedagogies. 

"These communities of practice are designed to encourage and enhance the emergence of new ideas and cultural approaches to tackle some of Oberlin's most-pressing questions of equity."

 YEAR 1, 2017-2018


The learning communities began work as a High Impact Inclusive Practice groups. Concrete interventions and accomplishments emerging from this include:

  • Developed a reading list of evidence-based inclusive practices in STEM.

  • Gathered anonymous data concerning implicit bias and stereotype threat from ~400 students

  • Hosted a workshop on impostor syndrome.

  • Reimagined the Lab Crawl STEM community event

  • Met with the director of the Student Union to learn about longstanding traditions and the possibility of a STEM orientation event. 

FALL 2017

With the launch of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence grant at Oberlin College, six initial learning communities were established. These included: Building Community and Sense of Belonging; Collaboration and Communication Across Departments; Alumni and Community Connections; Incentivizing Inclusive Practices; Listening to and Advising Students; and Inclusive Pedagogies. All six groups met bi-weekly throughout the semester. 

A group of five men and women present at the front of a conference room at a whiteboard in front of an audience.

Five faculty and staff participating in HHMI learning communities at Oberlin College present to the rest of the learning community members in StudiOC.

A group of men and women work together to arrange colored sticky notes on a glass window in a conference room.

Faculty and staff from Oberlin College and Kenyon College gather at Oberlin's StudiOC in August 2018 for the first Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching held in Oberlin.

Faculty and staff have a discussion while sitting at white tables.

Faculty and staff from Oberlin College, Kenyon College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Lawrence Technological University meet in Oberlin's StudiOC for the spring 2018 peer implementation cluster meeting.

"The HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative at Oberlin mobilized a number of learning communities comprised of faculty and staff from across campus in Fall 2017."