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Faculty Integration of Social Justice Issues into Courses and Co-Curricular Activities for Engineering Students

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2021 CoNECD


Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 2 Slot 6 Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

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Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) and Director for the Engineering Plus program. She has served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the CEAE Department, as well as the ABET assessment coordinator. Professor Bielefeldt was also the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where students learned about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is also a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

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Recent attention has been drawn to historical inequalities in society that persist in some form today. Social justice concerns marginalization in the form of social disadvantage which may be in terms of income, services, and/or participation. If engineers are to work effectively with and for marginalized communities both locally and abroad, they should be sensitized to social justice issues and have sophisticated ethical reasoning skills. This research explored the perspectives and practices related to social justice issues among engineering educators who integrate ethics and societal impact issues (ESI) into their courses. A survey found that among 1268 instructors who embed ESI in their courses, 27% include social justice and/or poverty topics. The majority of individuals who taught social justice and/or poverty believed that the ESI education of undergraduate and graduate students in their program was not sufficient. Based on interviews, faculty descriptions of how they taught social justice issues in a variety of course types and co-curricular settings are provided. This includes pedagogies that are common for ESI broadly such as reflection, discussion, and case studies. These results provide ideas to help engineering faculty integrate social justice topics into their teaching.

Bielefeldt, A. R. (2021, January), Faculty Integration of Social Justice Issues into Courses and Co-Curricular Activities for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day .

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