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Pilot Study: Impact of Social Consciousness on Engineering Design Decision Making

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Empathy and Human-centered Design 2

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37578

Download Count

26

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Paper Authors

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Aaron Carpenter Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Professor Aaron Carpenter (he/him/his) is an Associate Professor (and current Henry C. Lord Endowed Professor) in the School of Engineering at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, specializing in computer engineering. In 2012, he completed his PhD at the University of Rochester, and now focuses his efforts to further the areas of computer architecture, digital systems, cybersecurity, and electrical and computer engineering education.

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Juval V. Racelis Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Juval Racelis is an Assistant Professor specializing in writing pedagogy. His research focuses on pedagogical innovation across multiple contexts. In his teaching, he works in the intersections of writing, language, and culture to enrich students from diverse backgrounds.

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Alexander Cabal Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Alex Cabal has 12+ years of experience in Higher Education with a specialty in social justice, inclusion, and allyship. Alex is a member of NASPA and has held several leadership roles over the last decade. He has been recognized regionally and nationally by NASPA for his commitment and dedication to Student Affairs and for the work that he has done through the Gender & Sexuality Knowledge Community. Alex has an expertise in facilitation of training programs as well as performing institutional scans and program reviews. He has worked with higher education institutions, non-profits, and for-profit organizations on their inclusion efforts. Alex believes that authentic dialogue, reflection on our identities, an understanding of our history, and direct and consistent action are key to creating a more inclusive environment.

Alex graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of Hartford and completed his Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Administration at Springfield College. He currently serves as the Director of the Center for Diversity and Social Justice Programs at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.

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Beth Anne Cooke-Cornell Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Beth Anne Cooke-Cornell is a Professor of Humanities at Wentworth Institute of Technology specializing in race, gender, and identity.

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Gloria Guohua Ma Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Gloria Ma is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology. She has been teaching robotics with Lego Mindstorm to ME freshmen for several years. She is actively involved in community services of offering robotics workshops to middle- and high-school girls. Her research interests are dynamics and system modeling, geometry modeling, project based engineering design, and robotics in manufacturing.

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James R. McCusker Wentworth Institute of Technology

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James R. McCusker is an Associate Professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Since joining Wentworth in 2010, he has been heavily involved with an array of interdisciplinary design courses that range from introductory to capstone courses.

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Lynette Panarelli Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Lynette Panarelli is an Associate Professor of Interior Design at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She teaches across the curriculum with a special interest in technology and healthcare design. Before arriving at Wentworth ten years ago, Lynette practiced professionally in some of Boston's larger design firms.

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Abstract

One of the tasks of engineering design education is to ensure that students have a strong understanding of their customers and environments. They must understand the context of their decision-making and how it affects people in diverse communities. This requires students to see how a design may be biased toward or against a particular population and to develop sensitivity about issues of race, gender, religion, nationality, age, physical ability, and much more.

Over the last two years, a team of faculty across disciplines as well as staff specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion have developed a set of design exercises focused on social consciousness. These exercises are designed to be completed within a single lecture (50-75 minutes) facilitated by a pair of multidisciplinary instructors and provide insight into possible biases within the design process. This paper presents the development and implementation of the exercises, including detailed facilitator instructions and guidelines for educators. These exercises have gone through several iterations in a pilot study with engineering design classes and focus groups. The pilot study shows positive feedback indicating that these exercises help students understand their design environment and identify possible prejudices before they are an issue; they also help create a more globally aware student who is prepared for positive and engaged citizenship.

Carpenter, A., & Racelis, J. V., & Cabal, A., & Cooke-Cornell, B. A., & Ma, G. G., & McCusker, J. R., & Panarelli, L. (2021, July), Pilot Study: Impact of Social Consciousness on Engineering Design Decision Making Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37578

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