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Addressing Multicultural Issues In Manufacturing Curricula

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.56.1 - 2.56.6



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Murali Krishnamurthi

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1663

Addressing Multicultural Issues in Manufacturing Curricula

Murali Krishnamurthi Northern Illinois University

1. Introduction According to the National Science Foundation’s report [4] on “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering,” the enrollment figures on non-white students in science and engineering majors is around 10% and this figure is considerably small compared to the enrollment figures for the same category in non-science and engineering majors. If this enrollment trend continues the composition of future work force in technology-oriented fields will not truly reflect the multicultural make-up of our society. Considering the projected statistics on the composition of the future work force, it is imperative that educational institutions improve their science and engineering curricula to address gender equity and multicultural issues and help students experience, understand, and appreciate the benefits of the same before joining the work force [1].

The following were some of the concerns expressed to the author at the 1996 ASEE conference by some engineering faculty about addressing gender equity and multicultural issues in their curricula: (1) gender equity and multicultural issues appear to be more suited for addressing in the liberal arts curricula than the science and engineering curricula, (2) science and engineering courses do not seem to lend themselves to addressing these issues since the course content do not deal with these issues, (3) by addressing these issues, we may not be able to cover the required course material, and (4) we have to prepare students for the industry and the best way to do this is to let them deal with these things by themselves. These concerns may or may not be shared by all faculty in science and engineering curricula, but they certainly demonstrate the need to address them and clarify some of the misconceptions faculty may have about these issues.

2. Steps For Multiculturally Transforming the Manufacturing Curricula Any type of transformation activity is difficult, especially the ones that deal with educating ourselves, changing our beliefs and attitudes, and changing the way we do things. Further, we are often told “what” to do, but not “how” to do it. Faculty, especially engineering faculty due to their scientific background and training, need a structured step-by-step methodology to follow on “how” to transform to their curricula, along with being told “what” to do. After participating in a multicultural curriculum transformation institute at Northern Illinois University during summer 1996, I began exploring how to transform my courses in manufacturing and related topics to address gender equity and multicultural issues and realized that I also needed a structured methodology to follow and that other faculty could also benefit from one. The following is a step-by-step methodology I have developed for multiculturally transforming any curricula. Step 1. Educate Yourself - Before attempting to analyze and transform our curricula, we should educate ourselves first on gender equity and multicultural issues. Educating ourselves requires keeping an open mind and giving ourselves the time to learn and examine the relevant issues. We

Krishnamurthi, M. (1997, June), Addressing Multicultural Issues In Manufacturing Curricula Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6412

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