We are not alone
Today is #EngineeringEducation Monday on my Instagram account, and I want to tell you all about my most recent effort in trying to become a more inclusive professor in my engineering classroom. I am so excited and humbled to be facilitating two book clubs this year, one as part of the IDEA Committee of my department and the other at ASEE National through the Chemical Engineering (ChemE) Division.
I believe that action can be more effective when we work as a community.
This Fall 2021, I am facilitating the ASEE-ChemE Division’s Book Club on Inclusive Teaching practices with my fellow ChemE professor Janie Brennan, Ph.D., from Washington University in St. Louis. Our dedicated community of practice composed of chemical engineering educators and post-docs from across the nation is currently reading the book: What Inclusive Instructors Do by T.M. Addy et al., 2021 (Follow one of the authors, Dr. Addy on Twitter). In our community, we have created a safe space to do critical reflections and have difficult conversations with the goal of creating transformational change in our classrooms.
My big takeaway from these engineering communities is that many professors struggle to learn and effectively add inclusive teaching strategies into practice. Often, we don’t have enough time or don’t feel confident in our skills to have difficult conversations about these topics with our students. If this is your case, let time tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I have dedicated the last four years of my career to learn about inclusive teaching strategies, and I still struggle so much. Teaching three sections of engineering design per semester is not an easy task, so I am still learning how to balance content with deep learning. If you feel overwhelmed but want to do this meaningful work anyways, you are in the right place. I still do it because I care about our students and their potential to contribute to our society.
Sharing my journey with you
While I am learning with these amazing communities, I decided to research inclusive teaching practices that can be used in engineering education and share them with all of you. I am doing this because I want to become a better professor for all my students. My current professional development goals are to:
- Discuss frameworks for our long-term individual and collective explorations toward building fully inclusive classrooms.
- Find and share practical best practices that can be implemented efficiently in the engineering classroom. Check out my social media for outreach efforts:
To leverage my bilingualism, I will be creating content in both English and Spanish!
Going back to Basics: Definitions!
Let’s start like all professors do by defining what does Inclusive teaching means. In a nutshell:
Inclusive Teaching refers to all pedagogical practices that strive to serve all students’ needs, regardless of background, ability, or identity, and support their engagement with the material presented.
Little by little, we will be unpacking in future posts what this definition implies and what we can all do to make our classroom more inclusive.
But, if you want to start, consider the following Inclusive Teaching action steps:
- Practice Intrapersonal awareness. Interpersonal awareness refers to self-awareness and controlling your internal attitudes and inner processes.
- Practice Interpersonal awareness. This refers to empathy, the ability to recognize the emotions and perspectives of others.
- Regularly perform curriculum review. The process of reviewing the curriculum involves developing, reviewing, and revising the existing course or program curriculum by evaluating the context, content, methods, and assessment to meet all students’ learning needs and expectations of the engineering profession.
- Get familiarized with inclusive practices in your discipline. Inclusive practices are evidence-based, Engineering-specific strategies for creating engaging and motivating educational environments that encourage the persistence and success of all students, regardless of background, ability, or identity.
I hope this content is helpful for those who are starting your career or are reevaluating your current teaching practices. I believe that action can be more effective when we work as a community.
- Next Monday: I will go deeper in understanding the philosophical reasons behind becoming an inclusive instructor.
- Give Feedback. If you have any feedback, find any typos, or have a comment, please let me know. I strive to be better. DM on Twitter or Instagram. Thank you to all of you that have done so.
- Tell me what you want to learn more about. Let me know what you think about this content and if you think I should add more details.
- Share resources. Also, let me know if you have any references or recommendations to share to deepen the understanding of our community.
Follow to learn more Teaching Strategies
On Social Media:
Hashtags: #EngEdMonday #TheEngineeringProfessor #InclusiveTeaching #TeachingTips #STEMeducation #InclusiveTeachingTips #EngineeringEducation #SciComm
- Addy, T. M., Dube, D., Mitchell, K. A., & SoRelle, M. (2021). What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
- What Are Interpersonal Skills and Why Are They Important? Accessed Oct, 9th, 2021. https://askinglot.com/what-is-the-difference-between-interpersonal-skills-and-intrapersonal-skills
- Carew, A. L., & Cooper, P. (2008, July). Engineering curriculum review: processes, frameworks and tools. In Proceedings of the Annual SEFI Conference.
- Inclusive Teaching Practices. Accessed on Oct 9th, 2021-https://education.mrsec.wisc.edu/inclusive-teaching-practices/
- WEPAN-Engineering Inclusive Teaching (EIT) Accessed on Oct 9th, 2021-https://www.wepan.org/page/EIT