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Advancing the College of Engineering Strategic Goal of Becoming a National Model of Inclusivity and Collaboration

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2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Faculty Track - Technical Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Faculty

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Paper Authors


Michelle Kay Bothwell Oregon State University Orcid 16x16

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Michelle Bothwell is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Oregon State University. Her teaching and research bridge ethics, social justice, and engineering with the aim of cultivating an inclusive and socially just engineering profession.

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Padma Akkaraju Oregon State University

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Padma Akkaraju is the program coordinator for the online Computer Science degree program in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University. She has a doctoral degree in computational thermophysical properties and a master’s degree in College Student Services Administration. She serves as the coordinator for the change team initiatives for fostering equity and justice in the College of Engineering. She created a working model for cultural competence development and practice in diverse professions, such as teaching, law, and student services. She applied the model to develop, on invitation from the King County Bar Association, Seattle, the cultural competency training manual for the Washington State Title 26 Family Law Guardian Ad Litem Guidebook. Her current areas of interest include examining the efforts toward equity and inclusion within hegemonic organizational cultures that support authoritarian practices.

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Joseph McGuire Oregon State University

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Joe McGuire is Professor Emeritus in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering. He served as associate dean for faculty advancement in the College of Engineering from 2016 to 2018.

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Thuy T. Tran Oregon State University

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Thuy Tran directs marketing and communications at Oregon State University’s College of Engineering. In this leadership position, she works to manage external perceptions, strengthen relationships with stakeholders, and support efforts to achieve the college’s strategic goals. These efforts include showcasing high-achieving students, generating recognition for faculty research, and promoting the college’s world-class facilities.

Thuy’s unique educational and professional background enables her to combine a deep understanding of scientific principles with the ability to tell a compelling story to communicate the scientific and potential societal impact of individual research projects. Her targeted campaigns raise the perceived stature of the organization and lead to successful institutional fundraising.

After graduating from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and French, Thuy earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Hawaii. In her early career, she was a research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and held management positions in several engineering firms, including CH2M HILL, Lockheed Martin, and Los Alamos Technical Associates. While pursuing her technical career, she obtained an M.B.A in marketing from Washington State University. She was director of marketing and communications for Oregon State’s College of Business before joining the College of Engineering.

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Andrea Zigler Oregon State University

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Through her lens as a field ecologist turned executive assistant, Andrea has encouraged corporate and academic leaders to increase their intentional support of an inclusive, equitable, and socially just workplace. At Best Buy Inc., she was a founding member of the employee grassroots initiative to raise corporate sustainability awareness with executive leadership, leading to a significant increase of sustainable social and environmental practices across the global enterprise. At Oregon State University, she was recruited to advise the Vice Provost on nontenured staff development and advancement concerns. Currently, she serves as a member of the College of Engineering’s Change Team, with her focus on nontenured staff opportunities to foster a inclusive and collaborative community. She earned her M.S. in Ecology and Grassland Management from Colorado State University.

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The College of Engineering at a public research institution, with Land Grant and Sea Grant designations, has committed to becoming a community of faculty, students, and staff that is increasingly more inclusive, collaborative, diverse, and centered on student success.

We are meeting this commitment in part through design and implementation of new and revised practices for recruitment, professional development, mentoring, and advancement. But changing organizational culture is a large-scale undertaking. In order to build an organizational conscience for the college and secure its transformation into a community where all members feel welcome and engaged, “top-down” policy change must be complemented by enlistment of change agents from every employment sector of the college. For this purpose, a 20-member Change Team — including a balance of tenure-track and professional faculty and staff — was assembled in AY18 and empowered to work with college leadership to envision, develop, and resource infrastructure and communication needs to engage all college employees in our culture change process.

The work of the Change Team has emerged as essential to advancing our goals in relation to community. We will discuss inception and evolution of the Team, and profile five projects launched in AY18:

• Increasing competency and building an organizational conscience (this project foregrounds the symbolic level of oppression through bringing two events to campus, featuring an internationally acclaimed social justice scholar, and a play that explores the dangers of racism and political correctness).

• Design of modules to enhance graduate students’ capacities to engage issues of inclusivity, equity and social justice.

• Development of a scaffolded approach to enhancing undergraduate students’ knowledge and skills supporting inclusive and socially just teaming practices.

• Alignment of ‘Action Plans’ developed by engineering faculty and administrators who completed the NSF-supported ADVANCE seminar.

• Revision of the manufacturing engineering undergraduate curriculum in order to enhance its flexibility and accessibility.

Bothwell, M. K., & Akkaraju, P., & McGuire, J., & Tran, T. T., & Zigler, A. (2018, April), Advancing the College of Engineering Strategic Goal of Becoming a National Model of Inclusivity and Collaboration Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--29513

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