Many classrooms in higher education are becoming increasingly diverse. Diversity is an asset when student interactions are promoted and facilitated by instructors. The challenge is, many times students are grouped together for a collaborative project without attention to or skilled support for the learning and development that can occur through the intercultural collaborative process itself. Instructors often assume this learning happens automatically or organically and does not need to be acted upon explicitly. However, collaboration skills do not come naturally; simply putting students in groups is not enough. When collaboration is facilitated skillfully it benefits all students, especially those from marginalized and historically underserved groups. Here, we enumerate barriers instructors face in supporting groups, describe/share a model, and explore the implementation of this model in a general chemistry lab, which relies heavily on group work. We found that these activities are feasible in a large STEM class, that students participated and found value in them, and that they enhanced students’ content learning and the development of cross-cutting competencies sought by employers. We hope after reading this paper, instructors will recognize the responsibility and opportunity they have in supporting interactions, and have new inspiration and a pathway to do so.
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