July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Equity and Culture & Social Justice in Education
This work-in-progress paper describes a curricular intervention designed to incorporate various topics and assignments related to social justice into a thermal systems design course and a mechanical systems design course, both taught in the mechanical engineering department at a large, public institution on the west coast. Specifically, the two instructors (and paper authors) are adapting material from Dr. Donna Riley’s “Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems: A Textbook Companion for Student Engagement.” (2012) The curriculum intervention is in direct response to some students and faculty within our department who have recently called for a broader engineering curriculum, within (not separate from) their mechanical engineering courses. By making issues of social justice within core engineering courses explicit, we are hoping to 1) engage students in the discovery that issues such as energy policy, sustainability, mining practices, bias in design, etc. are not separate from engineering practice, 2) disrupt the social/technical dualism present in engineering curriculum that often discourages engineering students from learning about and participating in social justice issues and discussions, and 3) empower students to learn how they can work towards social justice in ways that support their professional development and career plans.
This paper will discuss and describe the six modules developed and implemented in the two courses, rubrics and assessment tools used, students’ reactions to the modules, and barriers to implementation. Additionally, we will present our preliminary research results. In each class, we are administering a pre/post survey to measure students’ gains in knowledge and attitudes about social justice topics/impact in engineering, as well as relevant demographic and background information. Survey items were taken directly from the “Social Justice Survey,” a validated instrument designed to assess favorable attitudes toward intentions to engage in social action. We will also share the emergent themes from our preliminary qualitative analysis, based on data gathered from course assignments and focus groups held with students in each class.
Cooper, L. A., & Mott, J. (2021, July), Implementing Social Justice Projects in Thermal System and Mechanical Design Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37303
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