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Reimagining Energy Year 4: Lessons Learned

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Gordon Hoople University of San Diego

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Diana Chen University of San Diego


Susan Lord University of San Diego

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Susan Lord is Professor and Chair of Integrated Engineering at the University of San Diego. She received a BS from Cornell University in Materials Science and Electrical Engineering (EE) and MS and PhD in EE from Stanford University. Her research focuses on the study and promotion of diversity in engineering including student pathways and inclusive teaching. She has won best paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education and IEEE Transactions on Education. Dr. Lord is a Fellow of the IEEE and ASEE and received the 2018 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is a coauthor of The Borderlands of Education: Latinas in Engineering. She is a co-Director of the National Effective Teaching Institute (NETI).

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Joel Mejia The University of Texas at San Antonio

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Dr. Joel Alejandro (Alex) Mejia is an Associate Professor with joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio. His current work seeks to analyze and describe the assets, tensions, contradictions, and cultural collisions many Latino/a/x students experience in engineering through testimonios. He is particularly interested in approaches that contribute to a more expansive understanding of engineering in sociocultural contexts, the impact of critical consciousness in engineering practice, and the development and implementation of culturally responsive pedagogies in engineering education. He received the NSF CAREER Award for his work on conocimiento in engineering spaces.

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This National Science Foundation (NSF) project focuses on the development of a new, required energy course, “An Integrated Approach to Energy,” for second-year students that considers ways to best include, represent, and honor students from all backgrounds using a collection of pedagogical approaches known as culturally sustaining pedagogies (CSPs). It is sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR) program. Energy is a modern and foundational concept across engineering disciplines, but it is often introduced to students in notoriously disengaging Thermodynamics courses. Many of these courses have roots in the Industrial Revolution and are characterized by particularly ethnocentric (White), masculine, and colonial knowledge. CSPs have been used successfully in K-12 settings, yielding particular benefits for historically marginalized students, but have yet to be fully explored in undergraduate engineering. CSPs in this project encourage students to connect their lived experiences to course topics, broaden conceptualizations of energy, and help students acknowledge the differing values and perspectives of others.

This research seeks to (1) identify energy examples outside of those traditionally used in the engineering canon; (2) develop and teach a course that integrates these non-traditional examples using CSPs; and (3) deepen educators’ understanding of how CSPs impact student learning, mindsets, and attitudes. These materials are being disseminated so that other faculty may use a CSPs approach to engage their students. An overarching goal of this work is to promote inclusion within engineering to support broader participation and thus increase diversity. CSPs can be a valuable tool in changing the dominant discourse of engineering education, improving the experience for those students already here and making it more welcoming to those who are not.

Now in the final year of this project, this poster and associated paper reports lessons learned from this project. We explore these lessons through the lens of the three high level goals in our original proposal.

Hoople, G., & Chen, D., & Lord, S., & Mejia, J. (2022, August), Reimagining Energy Year 4: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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