Dancing at the party: Educational practices in engineering education that foster diversity & inclusion

Rosemary Chang*, Francesca Maclean, Jacqueline Dohaney, Llewelyn Mann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Context: universities are strongly positioned to reproduce or reshape patterns of structural inequality (Outhred 2012). Given the “dynamic social context” (Armstrong & Cairnduff 2012, p. 926) of universities, one way reshaping can occur is through the inclusion of diverse groups of learners. Specifically, educational practices (by which we mean curriculum, teaching and broader learning experiences) that foster inclusion (Rolls, Northedge & Chambers 2018) have the potential to enable diverse learners to flourish and excel. Purpose: which strategies and educational practices might foster the inclusion of learners of diverse backgrounds and abilities in engineering education? Approach: in this conceptual paper, we tease out approaches to diversity and inclusion, heeding Myers’ (2012, para 1) call that: “Diversity is about being asked to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” We begin with background strategies to support diversity, such as recruiting staff from diverse backgrounds, employing D&I specialists, and devising selection procedures to support diverse cohorts. We draw on frameworks to support the inclusion of diverse learners (Boud 2010; Buckridge & Guest 2007) including: meaningful group formation (Kanter 2008) for women and gender-expansive learners in cohorts where men are over represented, use of a diversity snapshot, and inclusion plan, competency-based curriculum with formative feedback. Results: we explore the example of the Bachelor of Engineering Practice (Honours) program at Swinburne University of Technology, including explicit educational practices to foster diversity and inclusion. Conclusions: in conclusion, shifting educational practices to foster diversity and inclusion not only serves the educational experiences of individual learners, but also progresses institutional agendas for inclusion while preparing diverse, future-ready engineers. Put another way: there are many benefits, when we enable everyone to dance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018
Event29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE 2018): The Future Engineer: Accounting for Diversity - Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 9 Dec 201812 Dec 2018

Conference

Conference29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE 2018): The Future Engineer: Accounting for Diversity
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
CityHamilton
Period9/12/1812/12/18

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • inclusion
  • formative feedback
  • group formation

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