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Black in Engineering: How the Social Justice Efforts of Black Academics Affect Change

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36751

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36751

Download Count

37

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Paper Authors

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Carlotta A. Berry Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Carlotta A. Berry is a professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She is the director of the multidisciplinary minor in robotics and co-director of the Rose building undergraduate diversity scholarship and professional development program. She has been the President of the Technical Editor Board for the ASEE Computers in Education Journal twice, most recently in 2020. She is a member of ASEE, IEEE, NSBE, and Eta Kappa Nu.

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Audrey Bowden Vanderbilt University

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Audrey K Bowden is the Dorothy J. Wingfield Phillips Chancellor Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at Vanderbilt University. Prior to this, she served as Assistant and later Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering at Stanford University. Dr. Bowden received her BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, her PhD in BME from Duke University and completed her postdoctoral training in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. She is a Fellow of SPIE, a Fellow of AIMBE, a Fellow of OSA and a recipient of numerous awards. Her research interests include biomedical optics – particularly optical coherence tomography and near infrared spectroscopy, microfluidics, and point-of-care diagnostics.

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Monica Farmer Cox The Ohio State University

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Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Prior to this appointment, she was a Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, the Inaugural Director of the College of Engineering's Leadership Minor, and the Director of the International Institute of Engineering Education Assessment (i2e2a). In 2013, she became founder and owner of STEMinent LLC, a company focused on STEM education assessment and professional development for stakeholders in K-12 education, higher education, and Corporate America. Her research is focused upon the use of mixed methodologies to explore significant research questions in undergraduate, graduate, and professional engineering education, to integrate concepts from higher education and learning science into engineering education, and to develop and disseminate reliable and valid assessment tools for use across the engineering education continuum.

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Tahira N. Reid Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Dr. Tahira Reid is an associate professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and is a NASA Visiting Scholar for Fall 2020. Her research involves the quantification and integration of human-centered considerations in engineering systems and/or the design process. Her research program has received funding from the National Science Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and many others. Her projects that involved the intersection of diversity and mechanical engineering have been featured in media sources including National Geographic, NBC's Today Show, Essence Magazine, Reuters, National Public Radio and many others. A highly sought out role model for the younger generation, Dr. Reid Smith's story about her double dutch jump rope invention is featured in two children's books and was on the 2017 New York State English and Language Arts Common Core Exam administered to over 100,000 4th graders in the state of New York. Dr. Reid obtained BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Design Science, from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

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Leroy L. Long III Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

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Dr. Leroy Long III is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Fundamentals at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Dr. Long directs a research team called Engineering, Arts and Sports Engagement (EASE). His research interests include: (a) educational equity and racial justice, (b) student retention and career readiness, as well as (c) students' ethical reasoning and technology use, with a particular focus on STEM students. Most of Dr. Long's research has focused on the academic and social experiences of Black and Latinx groups as well as student-athletes in STEM fields. He helped to lead research, funded by the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant, to improve the well-being of the student-athlete through support of their career readiness. He also helped to secure funding from NSF (award # 2024973) to examine the potential benefit of using critical narratives as a pedagogical tool in the professional formation of engineers. To contact Dr. Long, email: Leroy.Long@erau.edu.

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Abstract

In Spring 2020, many faculty found themselves working from home as the world experienced a once in a lifetime pandemic. May 25, 2020, brought angst to the U.S. as the world witnessed the killing of George Floyd. In June, the BlackInTheIvory hashtag started trending on Twitter, bringing attention to inequities and injustices Black people face in academia. These events were a wake up call and confirmation that it was time for Black faculty across disciplines to unite against social injustice and racial inequity, which negatively impacts them inside and outside of the academy. In June 2020, over 60 Black engineering faculty met and decided to convene in solidarity with the goal of dismantling racially oppressive higher education systems. They realized that many Black engineering faculty have continually experienced systemic racism, from their days as undergraduate or graduate students to their current roles as professors. They decided to work collectively to bring awareness to their concerns and to make engineering professional environments places where Black engineering faculty are respected and treated equitably. They wanted to thrive rather than just survive in engineering. They demanded that everyone respect their humanity. Out of the meeting, the Black In Engineering (BIE) social justice movement was created to promote swift and lasting change in academia. Drawing on the 400+ members of the Academic and Research Leadership (ARL) Network, BIE became the social justice arm of ARL, capitalizing on the strength of the Black engineering professional community to consolidate social justice efforts and provide spaces to share experiences and resources. The goal was to celebrate who we are as engineering professionals, educate those who wish to join our; Movement, and connect with sponsors and allies. BIE includes a media campaign, call to action, messaging, policy, finance, strategic planning, networking and empowerment, and community engagement components. To date, BIE has amplified the experiences of Black engineering faculty, connected to current and potential partners, and presented about our call to action. The call to action includes specific recommendations for improving the racially hostile climate in engineering with a focus on anti-Black racism. We aim to help individuals overcome implicit bias and marginalization while standing in solidarity with overall activism efforts for Blacks in America. Dissemination of BIE efforts has occurred via a website, a YouTube channel (with over 255 subscribers with 9500 views),and Twitter account (with nearly 6,000 followers). BIE members have also written several articles and blog posts, been guests on several podcasts, conducted workshops, and held a joint recruiting and awareness campaign week with the Black In Computing organization. The Black In Computing website has an open letter and call to action to the computing community from Black In Computing and their allies. Black In Engineering used their call as inspiration for their work. The goal of this paper is to provide details on and raise awareness of the BIE “Call To Action, On Becoming an Anti-Racist Institution,” which has garnered more than 200 signatures from allies, advocates, and members. The Call to Action centers on five principles: attitude, clarity, institutional accountability, personal accountability, and commitment and resources). It also targets five areas and groups (i.e., system-wide, faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students). It provides insight on how institutions can implement the recommendations by intersecting with other DEI efforts such as the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Dean’s Diversity Initiative and Diversity Recognition Program (ADRP), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) SEA Change, and the ASPIRE Alliance. Finally, it is to offer advocates and allies suggestions on making these strategies actionable and sustainable across stakeholder groups and to suggest ways to integrate BIE strategies with universities’ other diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Berry, C. A., & Bowden, A., & Cox, M. F., & Reid, T. N., & Long, L. L. (2021, July), Black in Engineering: How the Social Justice Efforts of Black Academics Affect Change Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36751

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