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Board # 35 : ASEE Safe Zone Workshops and Virtual Community of Practice to Promote LGBTQ Equality in Engineering

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27836

Download Count

132

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Paper Authors

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Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Dr. Stephanie Farrell is Professor and Founding Chair of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University (USA) and was 2014-15 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland). From 1998-2016, Stephanie was a faculty member in Chemical Engineering at Rowan. Dr. Farrell has contributed to engineering education through her work in experiential learning, focusing on areas of pharmaceutical, biomedical and food engineering. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards such as the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning.

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Rocio C Chavela Guerra American Society for Engineering Education

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Rocio Chavela is Director of Education and Career Development at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University, a B.S. and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad de las Americas, Puebla in Mexico. Rocio’s current efforts focus on engineering faculty and graduate student development, with particular emphasis on the adoption of evidence-based instructional practices.

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Alexandra Sharpe American Society for Engineering Education

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Please note I am submitting this paper on behalf of Dr. Rocio Chavela Guerra.

Rocio Chavela is Director of Education and Career Development at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University, a B.S. and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad de las Americas, Puebla in Mexico, where she served as a faculty member for five years. Dr. Chavela is a past graduate fellow of the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education. Her current efforts focus on faculty and graduate student development, with particular emphasis on the adoption of evidence-based instructional practices in engineering education.

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Rossen Tsanov American Society for Engineering Education

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Erin A. Cech University of Michigan

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Dr. Erin Cech is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. Before coming to Michigan in 2016, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and was on faculty at Rice University. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2011 from the University of California, San Diego and undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Sociology from Montana State University. Cech's research examines cultural mechanisms of inequality reproduction--specifically, how inequality is reproduced through processes that are not overtly discriminatory or coercive, but rather those that are built into seemingly innocuous cultural beliefs and practices. Her work on inequality in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions focuses on the recruitment and retention of women, LGBTQ, and racial/ethnic minority persons in STEM degree programs and STEM jobs. Cech’s research is funded by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, including the first grant ever awarded by NSF to study LGBTQ inclusion in STEM.

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Tom J Waidzunas Temple University

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Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Temple University

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Abstract

ASEE Safe Zone Workshops and Virtual Community of Practice to Promote LGBTQ Equality in Engineering

Abstract Even though recent years have seen significant advances in LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) equality in the U.S. through legislation and social acceptance, research shows that LGBTQ students and faculty on college campuses still experience exclusion and dis-crimination. This paper describes a transformative project that links diversity research with a faculty development initiative to promote LGBTQ equality in engineering. The aims of the pro-ject are to (1) identify aspects of engineering culture that present barriers to LGBTQ equality, (2) build knowledge and skills to disrupt discrimination and promote LGBTQ equality in engineer-ing departments on college campuses and (3) to identify best practices for promoting LGBTQ equality in engineering. This project uses a transformative, cyclical mixed-method research model to provide a basis for social change. The transformative research generates new knowledge of engineering culture through surveys of engineering deans, faculty and students as well as ethnographic participant observations during Safe Zone training sessions with engineer-ing faculty. The cyclical aspect of the project plan integrates this new knowledge into another level of Safe Zone training sessions that address engineering culture more specifically.

Safe Zone is a term commonly used in schools and workplaces to describe both a learning expe-rience (workshops) as well as the individuals who have completed the training. Safe Zone Workshops create a visible network of LGBTQ-affirming faculty who contribute to creating a positive and inclusive climate. While most Safe Zone initiatives are campus/workplace-wide, the workshops described in this paper were specifically designed for engineering departments. Over 270 engineering educators have attended the 26 Safe Zone Workshops offered at the ASEE Annual Conference during the first two years that they were offered. Evaluation results from the first two years indicated a clear call to expand the workshops and nurture the conversation about LGBTQ inclusion in engineering.

To meet this need and to expand the impact of the Safe Zone Workshops, a Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) was established through this project in 2015. The VCP relies on technology to support the creation of a scalable and sustainable model for sharing knowledge, tools and re-sources to promote LGBTQ inclusion in environments that are traditionally difficult to penetrate. Using a two-tiered, train-the-trainer structure, two experts trained a cohort of twenty leaders to facilitate online and face-to-face Safe Zone Workshops and lead a Virtual Community of Prac-tice for engineering faculty.

The VCP redesigned the Level 1 workshops and developed Level 2 workshops with content in-formed by emerging research on LGBTQ inclusion in STEM. The workshops were launched online in spring 2016 and in person at the ASEE Annual Conference in 2016. This paper pre-sents an update on the overall project and presents the evaluation results of the Safe Zone Level 2 workshops.

Farrell, S., & Chavela Guerra, R. C., & Sharpe, A., & Tsanov, R., & Cech, E. A., & Waidzunas, T. J. (2017, June), Board # 35 : ASEE Safe Zone Workshops and Virtual Community of Practice to Promote LGBTQ Equality in Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27836

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015