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Inclusivity Meter: Tracing How it Worked and What Was Learned

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Working Together: Approaches to Inclusivity and Interdisciplinarity

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Kenya Z Mejia University of Washington

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Kenya Z. Mejia is a third year PhD student at the University of Washington in the Human Centered Design & Engineering program. Her work focuses on diversity and inclusion in engineering education focusing on engineering design education.

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Yen-Lin Han Seattle University

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Yen-Lin Han is an Associate Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University. Dr. Han received her BS degree in Material Science and Engineering from National Tsing-Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, her PhD degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and MS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include micro-scale molecular gas dynamics, micro fluidics, and heat transfer applications in MEMS and medical devices as well as autonomous vehicles and robotics. She also holds the patent for the continuous trace gas separator and a provisional patent for the dynamic tumor ablation probe. She is passionate about Engineering Education and experienced in developing inverted classroom lectures and facilitating students’ learning through authentic engineering problems. She is currently the Co- PI for the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments grant awarded to the Mechanical Engineering department at Seattle University to study how the department culture changes can foster students' engineering identity with the long-term goal of increasing the representation of women and minority in the field of engineering.

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Jennifer A. Turns University of Washington

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Jennifer Turns is a Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. She is interested in all aspects of engineering education, including how to support engineering students in reflecting on experience, how to help engineering educators make effective teaching decisions, and the application of ideas from complexity science to the challenges of engineering education.

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Finding tangible ways to incorporate inclusion into classroom environments remains a daunting task for many educators. The engineering education literature provides examples of activities to try and practices to incorporate, but applying the literature in a manner appropriately nuanced to an educator’s specific situated context takes time and effort. There are also many unknown factors educators cannot prepare for. In this narrative study, we present the story of an instructor who takes incremental steps to build an inclusive environment in a senior capstone course in order to promote her student’s understanding of the importance of having an inclusive environment. This paper highlights how one new tool, the Inclusivity Meter (IM), produces insights for the department as it continues its Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant. Despite various changes incorporated in the senior design and the department as a whole, students continued to bring up feelings of exclusion in departmental and college wide surveys, which warranted further attention. This study documents one quarter, Fall of 2020, as the school continues with virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tool, the “Inclusivity Meter,” is a weekly reflection activity that asks students to answer two questions: “How included did you feel?” and “Are there any additional comments you would like to add?”. Each senior design team was required to formulate team norms and a team agreement to scaffold the conversations of inclusion. The instructor herself then reflected on these weekly enactments of the tool and becomes more aware of inclusion in her classroom and what conversations seem to bubble up around the Inclusivity Meter.She also reflects on how this practice communicates to her students her commitment to inclusion and how it has helped her encourage students to speak up about issues around inclusion. Here, we monitor this practice through a series of reflective conversations between the educator and the other two authors and present a narrative based on themes from these conversations. This study provides new engineering educators an insight into what it looks like to incorporate a specific inclusive practice, how we might start thinking differently about what works and for whom in enacting inclusive practices, and how educators can continue to develop their “integrity of practice” around inclusion.

Mejia, K. Z., & Han, Y., & Turns, J. A. (2021, July), Inclusivity Meter: Tracing How it Worked and What Was Learned Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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