This study explored the gendered nature of STEM higher education institution through a feminist critical discourse analysis of STEM course syllabi from a Midwest research university. I explored STEM syllabi to understand how linguistic features such as stance and interdiscursivity are used in the syllabus and how language and discourses used in the syllabus replicate the masculine nature of STEM education. Findings suggest that the discourses identified in the syllabi reinforce traditional STEM academic roles, and that power and gender in the STEM syllabi are revealed through exploration of the themes of knowledge, learning, and the teaching and learning environment created by the language used in the syllabus. These findings inform and extend understanding of the STEM syllabus and the STEM higher education institution and lead to recommendations about how to make the STEM syllabus more inclusive for women.


Critical Discourse Analysis, Feminist Research Methods, Poststructuralism, Syllabus, Syllabi, STEM Education

Author Bio(s)

Laura Parson is a doctoral candidate in the teaching and learning department, higher education concentration, at the University of North Dakota. She has a MEd, Adult Education concentration, and TESOL certificate from Westminster College. Her research interests focus on the experiences of women in higher education, including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and post-structuralist/feminist research methods. More specifically, her dissertation is an institutional ethnography of STEM education from the standpoint of undergraduate women. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Laura Parson at, Laura.parson@und.edu.

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