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Title: Using Design to Understand Diversity and Inclusion within the Context of the Professional Formation of Engineers
Three broad and enduring issues have been identified in the professional formation of engineers: 1) the gap between what students learn in universities and what they practice upon graduation; 2) the limiting perception that engineering is solely technical, math, and theory-oriented; and 3) the lack of diversity (e.g., representation of a wide range of people, thought, and approaches toward engineering) and lack of inclusion (e.g., belonging and incorporating different perspectives, values, and ways of thinking and being in engineering) in many engineering programs. Although these are not new challenges in professional formation, these issues are highly complex, interconnected, and not amenable to simple solution. That is, they are “wicked” problems, which can be best understood and mitigated through design thinking, a human-centered approach based on empathy, ideation, and experimentation, as it is a useful perspective for addressing complex and ambiguous issues. Thus, this NSF-funded RFE study utilizes a design thinking approach and research activities to explore foundational understandings of formation and diversity and inclusion in engineering while concurrently addressing three project objectives: 1) To better prepare engineers for today’s workforce; 2) To broaden understandings of engineering practice as both social and technical; and 3) To create and sustain more diverse and inclusionary engineering programs. In this paper, we provide an overview of the multi-year project and discuss emerging findings and key outcomes from across all phases of the project. Specifically, we will showcase how the research has identified the concurrent ways that understandings of diversity and inclusion are impacted significantly by the local contexts (and cultures) of each department while being compounded by the larger College/University/discipline-wide understandings of who is an engineer and what skills legitimize the identity of “an engineer.”  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1636446
NSF-PAR ID:
10191786
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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