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Infusing A Multicultural Approach To Education In The Engineering And Science Curriculum

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.340.1 - 3.340.6



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Suzanne Keilson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3592

Infusing a multicultural approach to education in the engineering and science curriculum

Suzanne Keilson, Ph.D. Department of Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science Loyola College, Baltimore, MD 21210

Abstract Over the summer of 1997 I participated in a workshop for infusing multiculturalism across the curriculum. The workshop was based upon guidelines established by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)1 and has been sponsored by Loyola College in Maryland for its faculty for the past two summers. Faculty from the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, business, and engineering have participated in this workshop. It is often difficult to attract engineering and natural science faculty to this kind of activity. One important outcome was improved dialog among faculty across the disciplines. Such a multicultural approach to education is an important step for improving the “classroom climate”. It can be important for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups such as women, minorities and non-traditional engineering students. A multicultural approach to engineering education has the potential benefits of better preparing our students for teamwork and the global marketplace, and fostering different learning styles, creativity and innovation. This paper provides some recommendations for changing engineering courses, specifically, an introduction to engineering course. For example, one might place engineering design problems in a social, cultural, historical, as well as, technical and economic context.

I. Introduction One possible understanding of the goals of diversity in the curriculum is that it intends to create an environment in which everyone can see themselves reflected, a system in which everyone feels some sense of “ownership” or stake in the outcome of the enterprise. This requires that each member of the diverse community has some appreciation for and sensitivity to the cultural background, history, mores and norms of the other. In the academic setting, there is a need to create an open and safe environment in which each can learn both to talk and listen, explore the self and the other. By truly learning one’s own culture and exploring another, one returns with an understanding that far exceeds the sum of the parts. Multicultural education seeks to enable the student to appreciate the variety of perspectives that each of us represents and that various identities, even embodied within one person, provide unique positions from which one interacts with and views the world. In this paper the importance of such issues for engineering and science education is explored. At the time I participated, the basic workshop conducted at Loyola College in Maryland in infusing diversity across the curriculum consisted of twelve all-day sessions over three weeks.

Keilson, S. (1998, June), Infusing A Multicultural Approach To Education In The Engineering And Science Curriculum Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7193

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