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An Inclusive Engineering Curriculum: How To Persuade And Assist Your Colleagues To Develop One

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



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Special Topics

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Page Numbers

7.177.1 - 7.177.16



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Mary Ayre

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Julie Mills

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

Main Menu Session 3630

An Inclusive Engineering Curriculum: How to persuade and assist your colleagues to develop one

Julie Mills, Mary Ayre University of South Australia / University of Glamorgan

Abstract Engineering faculty are urged to be ‘inclusive’ when teaching classes of diverse students. An inclusive approach, it is argued, will not only assist the progress of those students from social and cultural groups, which have not traditionally entered engineering, but it will also broaden the perspectives of all students and thus improve the overall quality of an engineering program.

This paper is written for academic advocates of quality, equity and diversity. It summarises the development of the various meanings of the term ‘inclusive curriculum’ in Australian and American literature for the purpose of disseminating and promoting the concept amongst engineering colleagues. It also uses the progressive nature of the various understandings of the concept to make practical suggestions for introducing and consolidating an inclusive engineering curriculum at several levels. Although the case study presented in this paper is located within an Australian university, the need for inclusivity within engineering curricula is relevant worldwide and the techniques and strategies described are readily applicable for use in other countries.

Introduction In common with the rest of the English-speaking world, Australian universities are seeking to increase the diversity of their students. This is partly an equity and social justice issue: to improve the distribution of the benefits accruing to prosperous societies and ensure that a wide range of citizens play an active and informed part in the control and use of the assets of these societies. And it is partly a quality issue: we want to ensure that the best and most able people from all backgrounds are provided with the necessary education to contribute to the further development of knowledge.

Both of these issues are particularly relevant with regard to engineering students. Firstly, there are two sides to the equity and social justice issue. Engineering is a respected profession, and equity demands not only that it should be open to everyone, but also that long-established conventions and attitudes should not impede the professional success of entrants from any social and cultural groups. From another perspective: the engineering profession is responsible for the development and implementation of many of the technologies that are an essential part of developed societies – advanced communication systems, sophisticated infrastructure such as buildings, transport networks, sanitation and water supply systems and the development of industries vital to the economy of these societies. The profession also has a critical role to play in improving the conditions of the less developed and prosperous parts of the world, by providing expertise to implement and develop these same technologies in areas where they are currently at a basic level or completely lacking. Thus it is very important that engineering students develop an understanding of the role they can play in improving the quality of life of all

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Ayre, M., & Mills, J. (2002, June), An Inclusive Engineering Curriculum: How To Persuade And Assist Your Colleagues To Develop One Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11063

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