The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice in Biology Education

Finally, STEM is becoming STEMPA—Science, Technology Engineering, and Math as authorized by Political Activism, and Auguste Comte’s Hierarchy of the Sciences is being inverted. The Babbling Bear has dreamed of this day!

The Babbling Bear is honored to announce this new initiative on Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice in Biology Education. The Bear has not changed a single word. We do however regret that this opportunity does not ask for nor require the pronouns of the authors submitting papers. A shortened version of the  announcement is given below:

Special Issue – Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice in Biology Education

Call for Research Papers

To bring attention to Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice in biology education, CBE – Life Sciences Education (LSE; will publish a special issue in 2024 highlighting research articles, essays, and features that offer new insights into these topics. As a team of LSE Special Issue Guest Editors, we are passionate and enthusiastic about engaging the LSE community in deepening our collective understanding of Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice. A key goal of this special issue is to elevate research that investigates the unique experiences, assets, and resilience of communities impacted by systemic oppression in ways that intentionally marginalize them within the life sciences, biology education and other research, and STEM education. An additional goal of this special issue is to bring the theoretical frameworks, anti-deficit perspectives, methodological approaches, and critical lenses from fields such as higher education, race and resistance studies, gender and sexuality studies, disability justice, and other disciplines to biology education research and to the LSE readership. We welcome authors at all phases of their career, in a variety of professional positions and institutional contexts, and from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

There is an urgent need in biology education – and in the life sciences more broadly – to move from discussions of “diversity” and “broadening participation” that primarily attend to numerical representation towards research and reform targeting structures, systems, and cultural assumptions. A focus on diversity may bring new individuals to the life sciences, but it does not address the persistent inequity of biology education, where individuals of various social identities regularly experience the same learning environments in fundamentally different ways. While an emphasis on broadening participation has brought in new perspectives, the historical systems of biology and biology education have been built on assumptions grounded in white, Western, masculine, upper-class, able-bodied, heteronormative, cisnormative, and other dominant culture structures and practices that are exclusionary to those individuals from different lived experiences, home cultures, and social identities. In addition, the inaccessibility of the life sciences to individuals who hold a myriad of marginalized social identities has received little research or reform attention in biology education. Further, efforts to identify, characterize, and interrogate structures, systems, and assumptions that drive inequity, exclusion, and inaccessibility in biology education are but initial first steps towards fundamentally changing the culture of biology and biology education to address persistent injustices that are continually perpetuated in commonly used biology curriculum and pedagogical approaches.


A broad range of manuscript topics will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • Studies exploring asset-based, rather than deficit-based, approaches to promoting equity, inclusion, access, and justice in biology education
  • Research that centers the lived experiences of marginalized communities such as the disabled, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Black, Latiné communities, to name but a few
  • Identification and revision of exclusionary content in traditional life sciences courses, curriculum, and pedagogical practices with respect to race, gender, LGBTQ+ identities, disability, language, class, and many other social identities that continue to be marginalized in the life sciences
  • Assessment of the impact of integrating of social justice into biology education curriculum, pedagogy, and research
  • Evaluating professional development efforts to promote equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices by biology and STEM instructors, inclusive of part-time, adjunct, and associate instructors
  • Interdisciplinary research collaborations that connect biology education to the frameworks, methodologies, and findings from higher education, race and resistance studies, gender and sexuality studies, social psychology, and other fields
  • Studies taking a multiplicative approach to identity, considering multiple identity intersections of group identities
  • Investigating the impact of involving students themselves, especially students from marginalized social identities, in efforts to promote equity, inclusion, access, and justice in biology education research and reform efforts
  • Institutional or systemic level analyses of exclusion in the life sciences
  • And any number of other arenas that connect equity, inclusion, access, and justice to biology education research



Articles reporting original research are prioritized, but review articles submitted as essays will be considered as well. To be publishable in this special issue of LSE, scholarly work must:

  1. Connect in some way to equity, inclusion, access, or justice frameworks that go beyond diversity and broadening participation in STEM
  2. Have implications for biology education researchers and practitioners
  3. Be evidence-based, grounded in systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data (expansively defined and not constrained to traditional positivist approaches)



The dates below were designed with the demands of academic calendars in mind.         

  • October 15, 2023: Deadline for submission of brief descriptions of anticipated research papers
  • November 15, 2023: LSE sends invitations for submission of full manuscripts
  • February 1, 2024: Invited authors submit full manuscripts for review process
  • Early April 2024: Invited authors receive initial peer reviews for submitted manuscripts
  • Early July 2024: Invited authors submit revised manuscripts for secondary review
  • Fall 2024: LSE publishes Special Issue

Notes: All submitted manuscripts will undergo the usual LSE anonymous peer review process. Manuscripts that are favorably reviewed but beyond the scope of this theme may be published in a different issue of the journal. As always, a waiver or fee reduction for publication charges may be available by request.



Submitted paper descriptions should include the following and should be 300-700 words:

  • TITLE, clearly linked to equity, inclusion, access, or justice in biology education
  • AUTHOR(S), including name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es); submissions are welcome from all, and authors with lived experiences connected to equity, inclusion, access, and justice are strongly encouraged.
  • POSITIONALITY STATEMENT, including a description of the ways the authors’ group identities influence and impact their work on the manuscript.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION of the focus of the anticipated research manuscript, including: 1) connections to equity, inclusion, access, or justice frameworks, 2) implications for biology education researchers and practitioners, and 3) methods for systematic evidence collection, analysis, and interpretation.


DEADLINE, emailed by October 15, 2023

DECISIONS ON PAPER DESCRIPTIONS will be sent by November 15, 2023 via email after review by the guest co-editorial team to ensure that a range of topics and perspectives are represented in this special issue.



Interested authors are welcome to contact any of the Guest Editors or LSE Co-Editors-in-Chief with questions. Additionally, drop-in questions are welcome at the following optional LSE Special Issue Support Sessions:

Tuesday, July 11, 1pmPT/4pmET

Thursday, July 27, 10amPT/1pmET

Monday, August 14, 9amPT/12pmET

Friday, August 25, 11amPT/2pmET

Wednesday, September 13, noonPT/3pmET


The Education Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) is hosting an Education Mini-Symposium at Cell Bio 23 ( with the theme of “Narrowing the Gap: Inclusive Teaching Strategies to Engage and Retain Students.” Interested scholars might consider submitting their work for a presentation in this Mini-Symposium. Presentation abstracts can be submitted to under the “Education, Professional Development, Diversity, & Inclusion” minisymposium track (August 1st due date). The meeting will take place from December 2-6, 2023 in Boston. Presentation submissions are subject to peer review (separate from the process for LSE’s special issue) and presenters must be ASCB members.


About CBE – Life Sciences Education

CBE – Life Sciences Education (LSE; is an online, quarterly journal owned and published by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in editorial partnership with the Genetics Society of America and with partial support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The journal publishes original, previously unpublished, peer-reviewed articles on research and evaluation related to life sciences education, as well as articles about evidence-based biology instruction at all levels. The ASCB believes that biology learning encompasses diverse fields, including math, chemistry, physics, engineering, and computer science, as well as the interdisciplinary intersections of biology with these fields.

One goal of the journal is to encourage teachers and instructors to view teaching and learning the way scientists view their research, as an intellectual undertaking that is informed by systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data related to student learning. Target audiences include those involved in education in K–12 schools, two-year colleges, four-year colleges, science centers and museums, universities, and professional schools, including graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. All published articles are available freely online without subscription. LSE publishes under the Creative Commons 3.0 agreement. LSE articles are indexed in PubMed and available through PubMed Central.

For more information about the journal and guidance on determining suitability of a manuscript for LSE, please see the Information for Authors at: Manuscripts can be submitted at:




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