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Cultivating Inclusivity: A Systematic Literature Review on Developing Empathy for Students in STEM Fields

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Conference

2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity)

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

February 20, 2022

Start Date

February 20, 2022

End Date

July 20, 2022

Conference Session

Technical Session 8 - Paper 5: Cultivating Inclusivity: A Systematic Literature Review on Developing Empathy for Students in STEM Fields

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

Page Count

30

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/39112

Download Count

643

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Paper Authors

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Stephanie Jill Lunn Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3840-1822

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Stephanie Lunn is presently a postdoctoral fellow in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. She recently completed her Ph.D. from the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University (FIU). Her research interests span the fields of Computing and Engineering Education, Human Computer Interaction, Data Science, and Machine Learning. Previously, Stephanie received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Neuroscience from the University of Miami, in addition to B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from FIU.

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff Georgia Institute of Technology

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff, PhD is a Lecturer and Director of Faculty and Student Training in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She is involved in teaching, engineering education innovation, and research. In addition to her PhD in Chemical Engineering, she also has an MA in Educational Studies. She has industrial experience in pharmaceutical product and process development as well as teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

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Joseph M LeDoux Georgia Institute of Technology

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Joe Le Doux is the Executive Director for Learning and Training in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Dr. Le Doux's research interests in engineering education focus on the socio-cognitive aspects of highly interactive learning environments, inclusion and peer justice, and the impact of story-driven learning and personal narratives on students' empathy, self-concept, and identity.

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Abstract

As demand for qualified workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields continues to rise, there is a need to not only consider how to improve engagement and retention, but also an opportunity to strive towards broadening participation. To create a more equitable workforce, and in particular, one that encourages the enrollment and persistence of underrepresented minorities, pedagogy centered around cultivating inclusivity is key. Along these lines, empathy as a construct can play a crucial role in aiding students to consider the impact of their own decisions and behaviors on others and society. Given the necessity of embedding the concept of empathy within post-secondary education, we sought to understand how others have approached empathy in curricula, projects, and practice. We applied Zaki’s model of empathy —which triangulates “sharing,” “thinking about,” and “caring about,” as the theoretical framework guiding the inquiry— and performed a systematic literature review. We sought answers to the following research questions: 1) How have educators integrated empathy development into learning activities in STEM?; 2) What pedagogical approaches have been shown to promote empathy of students in STEM?; and 3) How have scholars approached the development of different kinds of empathy in classrooms? After querying Google Scholar, analyzing more than 10,000 publications, and applying the inclusion/exclusion criteria, we identified 63 articles that centered on empathy development in STEM education, and specific learning activities or courses working to achieve this goal. The results were defined in terms of the patterns observed, topics assessed, and contributions made to the existing body of knowledge. Although there may be a range of approaches employed, such as through storytelling or role play, embedding empathy can not only shape students’ internalization of the concept, and the resultant shift of mindset, but it can also be critical to formulating their connection to the discipline and their exchanges with others. The publications obtained, and subsequent analysis, can be of tremendous value towards understanding how departments can create more inclusive curricula and environments. The conclusions from this analysis highlight the relevance of empathy and offers educators and academia ideas about how to foster compassion in students, and potential implementations which could enhance teaching in STEM fields.

Lunn, S. J., & Bell-Huff, C. L., & LeDoux, J. M. (2022, February), Cultivating Inclusivity: A Systematic Literature Review on Developing Empathy for Students in STEM Fields Paper presented at 2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity) , New Orleans, Louisiana. https://peer.asee.org/39112

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