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Understanding the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Engineering Faculty and Actively Engaging Them in the ASEE Deans Diversity Initiative

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

LGBTQ+ Track - Technical Session III

Tagged Topics

Diversity and LGBTQ+

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29590

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

biography

Robyn Sandekian University of Colorado, Boulder

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Robyn Sandekian is the Managing Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities (MCEDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder). She joined the Engineering for Developing Communities Program (now known as the Mortenson Center) in spring 2004, just as the first EDC graduate track was approved. With MCEDC, her main duties have included student advising and academic program development.

Recently, she co-developed the curriculum for the new Minor in Global Engineering offered by the CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science starting in fall 2016.

Ms. Sandekian earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at CU Boulder, a Specialist in Education (Ed. S.) degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, and earned her Ph.D. in the Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership program from the University of Northern Colorado in 2017.

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Abstract

Increasing diversity among faculty, students, and working professionals within engineering has been a longstanding goal of engineering professional societies, universities, and government organizations. However, progress has been slow and uneven across groups with diverse identities and across disciplinary specialty areas within engineering. In response, more than 175 engineering deans have now signed the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Deans Council (EDC) Diversity Initiative Letter to support efforts to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering education. In that letter, the signatories pledged to provide “educational experiences that are inclusive and prevent marginalization of any groups of people because of visible or invisible differences” [1, Para. 3, emphasis mine]. Visible and invisible differences encompass dissimilarities of sexual and gender identity, but those topics have been frequently overlooked in the context of engineering. The lack of data regarding engineers who identify across these spectrums of sexuality and gender identity has limited the full picture of existing diversity in engineering.

This paper discusses lessons learned from the author’s recent dissertation work focused on the experiences of tenure track engineering faculty who identify as sexual minorities. Those lessons include overlap discovered between the experiences of faculty who identify as women and faculty of all genders who identify as sexual minorities. The intended outcome of this paper is to encourage thoughtful discussions with deans and other diversity allies regarding how to expand the EDC Diversity Initiative beyond its gendered and racial/ethnic lenses to incorporate intersectional identities held by engineering faculty members, students, and staff. The paper concludes with implementable suggestions for how to fully engage the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and others (LGBTQ+) population in the ASEE Dean’s Diversity Initiative.

Sandekian, R. (2018, April), Understanding the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Engineering Faculty and Actively Engaging Them in the ASEE Deans Diversity Initiative Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29590

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