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Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Topics into a First-Year Introduction to Civil Engineering Course

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Committee on Educational Policy Presents: Pillars of Our Curriculum

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering Division (CIVIL)

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Paper Authors


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 of the Integrated Design Engineering 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 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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This paper presents an example of how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) topics have been integrated into an Introduction to Civil Engineering course for first-year (FY) students. DEI issues were integrated into the topics of ethics and sustainability, as well as being a stand-alone topic in 2020-2022. Each of these three topics had an associated individual homework assignment supported by readings and/or online videos. The specific prompts and readings/ videos changed over time. The DEI teaching practices aligned with self-determination theory (e.g., autonomy). Evidence of the effectiveness of the DEI integration approaches is provided via content analysis of a homework assignment and the final reflective essay. In addition, there was no evidence of student resistance to DEI topics in the course. The results provide specific examples that can support civil engineering programs in fulfilling the new proposed ABET civil engineering program criterion related to DEI.

Bielefeldt, A. R. (2023, June), Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Topics into a First-Year Introduction to Civil Engineering Course Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43787

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