From the way we work to the way our society handles law enforcement and racial justice, 2020 has been a year marked by rethinking what’s possible. So why not rethink the way we teach, too? That’s the goal of BioSLAM, or Biology Summer Lab Activity Modification, a weeks-long, 60-person effort in the San Francisco State University Biology Department to overhaul the lab curriculum — not just to make it up-to-date and ready for remote instruction, but to ensure that courses incorporate racial justice and equity.
“Two things happened at once,” explained Biology Department Chair Laura Burrus. “One was that we had the pandemic and we went to remote learning. And then came a lot of energy around Black Lives Matter, the bubbling up of years of pent-up frustration around the lack of action. It seemed in some ways like a perfect storm. But in some ways, it’s also a perfect opportunity.”