July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
The Mechanical Engineering Department at a private, mid-sized university was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) grant in July 2017 to supports the development of a program that fosters students’ engineering identities in a culture of doing engineering with industry engineers. With a theme of strong connection to industry, through changes in four essential areas, a shared department vision, faculty, curriculum, and supportive policies, this culture of “engineering with engineers” is being cultivated.
Many actions have taken to develop this culture. This paper reports our continued efforts in changes of these four areas: Shared department vision: The department worked together to revise the department mission to reflect the goal of fostering engineering identity. From this shared vision, the department updated the advising procedure and began addressing the challenge of diversity and inclusion faced in engineering. A diversity and inclusion statement was discussed by all faculty and included in all syllabi offered by the department to emphasize the importance of an inclusive culture. Faculty: The pandemic prompted faculty to think differently on how they deliver their courses and interact with students. Many faculty members adapted inverted classroom pedagogy and implemented remote laboratories to continue the emphasis of “doing engineering”. The industry adviser holds weekly virtual office hours to continue to provide industry contacts for students. Although faculty summer immersion this past year was postponed due to pandemic, interactions with industry were continued in various courses. Curriculum: A new mechanical engineering curriculum rolled out in the 2019-20 academic year. Although changes have to be made due to the pandemic but the focus of “engineering with engineers” remained. An example would be the Vertical Integrated Design Projects (VIDP) courses offered in Spring 2020. Utilizing virtual communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, student teams in the VIDP courses could still interact with industry advisors on a regular basis and learned from their experiences. Supportive policies: The department has worked closely with other departments, the college and the university to develop supportive policies. Recently, the college recommended the diversity and inclusion statement developed by the department to all senior design courses offered in the college. The university was aware of the goal of this project in fostering students’ engineering identities, which in term can promote the retention of URMs. The department’s effort is aligned with the new initiative the university launched to build an inclusive environment.
More details of the action items in each area of change that the department has taken to build this culture of engineering with engineers will be shared in the full-length paper.
This project was funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) IUSE/PFE: RED grant through NSF.
Han, Y., & Cook, K. E., & Mason, G., & Shuman, T. R., & Turns, J. A. (2021, July), Engineering with Engineers: Fostering Engineering Identity Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37079
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