July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Broadening the STEM workforce is imperative if the persistent and complex problems facing the US and the world are going to be effectively addressed. The culture in engineering and computer science, however, is often cold toward those with diverse backgrounds. The ultimate purpose of our 5 year multi-institutional NSF IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) funded program, (redacted for blind review), is to change the culture of engineering and computer science by developing, implementing, and evaluating curricular changes intended to engender inclusive professional identities in engineering and computer science students. Students with inclusive professional identities will have: “(1) the necessary technical knowledge, skills, and abilities to work in their chosen field; (2) an appreciation for how all kinds of diversity strengthen engineering and computer science as disciplines; and (3) knowledge of how to act in inclusive ways and create inclusive environments within their fields” (redacted for blind review). Notably, the project approaches diversity from a holistic perspective that includes different life experiences, demographic characteristics, problem-solving approaches, and personalities, while also emphasizing the experience of populations historically underrepresented in engineering and computer science.
The intervention activities created are customizable and able to fit in existing course scaffolds, teaching modalities, and campuses, and have been created and tested on the unique campuses involved in the project, each serving students from different backgrounds. These activities were created to address our specific aims to teach students to (a) appreciate diversity, (b) work in diverse teams, and (c) serve diverse populations, all while fitting the needs of many classrooms. Some intervention activities are specific to course technical content, but the majority are more general and could be used in just about any course.
Examples of intervention activities that can be used with different academic levels include the Interactive Theatre Sketch and Using Diversity to Drive Innovation. The Interactive Theatre Sketch teaches first-year students to work on diverse teams by allowing students to mediate a conflict in a dysfunctional team depicted by trained actors followed by a facilitated discussion. The Using Diversity to Drive Innovation activity emphasizing how engineers with diverse backgrounds bring valuable perspectives to the design process by having upper-level students consider how diversity impacts a company’s innovation and productivity after listening to a TEDTalk.
Other intervention activities are tailored to specific academic areas. In biomedical engineering, for example, a TEDTalk is used as a foundation for students to reflect on why building a diverse team is critical to help ensure health issues faced by all ethnicities, races, genders, and economic statuses are addressed. All of the project’s objectives are addressed with mechanical engineering students by challenging them to redesign a hand or power tool to be more accessible for someone with a physical disability in the Veteran’s Tool Project.
The paper and poster will highlight a subset of the nearly 40 unique curricular intervention activities created and, where applicable, describe the modifications used for implementation across campuses. Educators can find activities suitable for various academic levels and disciplines of interest from the plethora of intervention activities produced by this project.
Pedersen, B. A., & Hensel, R. A., & Raisa, S. A., & Atadero, R. A., & Casper, A. A., & DeLyser, R. R., & Griffin, C. D., & Leutenegger, S. T., & Morris, M. L., & Paguyo, C., & Paul, J., & Park, S., & Rambo-Hernandez, K. E., & Roszelle, B. N. (2021, July), Leveraging Changes in Engineering and Computer Science Curricula to Engender Inclusive Professional Identities in Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37454
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