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Safe Zone Ally Training Workshop: Level 2

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2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference


Corvallis, Oregon

Publication Date

March 20, 2019

Start Date

March 20, 2019

End Date

March 22, 2019

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Paper Authors


Robyn Sandekian University of Colorado Boulder

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Robyn Sandekian, PhD, is the Manager of Diverse Faculty Recruiting for the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. In this role, Robyn works with hiring committees throughout the College to ensure that faculty searches reach a broad pool of potential applicants and coordinates training offered by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to identify and reduce implicit bias throughout the search process. In addition, she runs a faculty development and leadership program to train and recruit diverse PhD students who wish to pursue academic positions in engineering or applied science after graduation.

Dr. Sandekian earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at CU Boulder in 1992 and 1994, respectively. She went on to earn a Specialist in Education (Ed. S.) degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership in December 2017, both from the University of Northern Colorado.

She is a Founding Leader of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Engineering and a facilitator of Safe Zone trainings for engineering faculty and staff who wish to learn more about how to create inclusive environments within engineering for LGBTQ+ individuals.

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Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez Oregon State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez’s research expertise includes modeling and simulation of complex systems and complex networks. His research team develops machine learning algorithms to solve geographically- and temporally-wide problems in power systems, for example energy access and equity. He contributes to stakeholder engagement by serving as the President of the Society of Hispanic Professional
Engineers, Oregon Chapter, and member of the ASEE LGBTQ in STEM advocacy virtual community of practice.

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Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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This abstract is a workshop proposal.

Did you know that 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ students are made to feel uncomfortable in our classrooms? Did you know that LGBTQ engineering students are more likely than women, underrepresented minorities, and non-LGBTQ peers to report a chilly climate in engineering (Cech et al., 2017)? Did you know that LGB students are less likely to be retained in STEM than their heterosexual peers (Hughes, 2018)? Did you know that LGBQ Faculty in STEM fields reported the highest level of discomfort on campus, in departments, and in classrooms (Patridge, 2014)? You can help change this!

Safe Zone Ally Training workshops are interactive training sessions for faculty, students, and the professional community that seek to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM and create a visible network of allies to foster a supportive atmosphere for LGBTQ+ individuals. During these research-informed workshops, participants will build the knowledge and skills needed to create a more inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals in engineering. The workshops have been developed by a community of Science and Engineering professionals and students, specifically for a STEM audience. The workshops typically last 90 minutes and are facilitated by two members of our community of advocates.

Safe Zone Ally Training Level 2 workshops explore aspects of engineering culture that act as barriers to LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion, the concepts and implications of privilege and bias, how to disrupt discrimination, and tips for creating an inclusive classroom environment.

The key learning outcomes for Level 2 workshops are: 1) Understand the importance of Safe Zone Ally Training workshops and why it is necessary to build knowledge and skills related to LGBTQ+ individuals and STEM inclusion. 2) Understand the concepts and implications of privilege, bias, and microaggressions. 3) Understand the climate for LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM fields and its broader impacts and implications. 4) Learn how to contribute to an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals through implementing inclusive strategies (special attention paid to techniques for creating an inclusive classroom environment).

These workshops are interactive and incorporate several brief individual and group activities to enhance learning. Participants do not need to bring supplies. Participants in Levels 1 and 2 will receive a Safe Zone sticker to display in their workplace. Digital badges will be awarded for participation in each workshop in the Safe Zone series.

Sandekian, R., & Cotilla-Sanchez, E., & Farrell, S. (2019, March), Safe Zone Ally Training Workshop: Level 2 Paper presented at 2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference, Corvallis, Oregon.

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