The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Links

Deans Diversity Equity Inclusion Curriculum Challenge

 Racial Justice in EngineeringWe are hearing over and over from our students that they want issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice embedded throughout the engineering curriculum. This is a challenge for all of us to use our engineering problem-solving skills to develop creative ways to incorporate these ideas in every class we teach.
 

Faculty

  • We ask every faculty member in the College of Engineering to submit at least one lesson plan for at least one class they are teaching this semester that incorporates these ideas. We understand that this will be much more challenging for some classes than for others. But, we believe that our faculty are willing to face challenges head-on.  Download a lesson plan template.
     
  • We ask faculty to submit lesson plans as they design them, with a deadline each week of Thursday at 5pm as the semester proceeds. The lesson plans will be evaluated by a panel of students, and the best ones will be highlighted the following week. We will update each week how each department is doing.

Students

  • Help evaluate lesson plans submitted by faculty and select ones to be highlighted. If you are interested, contact Dr. Paula Rees
     
  • Let's work together to host a hack-a-thon with engineering students taking on the challenge of designing lesson plans for classes submitted to us by faculty. More info soon.

We are also planning a series of trainings for faculty who are seeking support and resources. Event details will be shared here as they become available.

 

Highlights & Updates
 

Submissions through Week 11:

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

3

2

33%

0

0%

CEE

6

4

14%

1

4%

ChemE

13

9

39%

1

4%

ECE

5

5

12%

0

0%

MIE

11

9

24%

0

0%

 

Highlights from week 10 (the previous week): 

We had an excellent submission from MIE last week! The lesson plan by Anuj Pradham for MIE 597AV – Vehicle Automation Systems - asks students to consider if the benefits of vehicle automation and advanced in-vehicle technologies are equitable for all segments of the population. It then asks them to apply Universal Design methods and principles to consider what designers, engineers, manufacturers and policy makers can do to ensure these transformative technologies are beneficial to all, especially those with specific challenges with mobility. The lesson plan includes focused readings, in class discussions, and incorporation of a diversity and accessibility component in individual semester projects and presentations. Congratulations to Professor Pradham for bringing DEI into the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!

 

Submissions through Week 10: 

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

3

2

33%

0

0%

CEE

5

3

11%

0

0%

ChemE

10

7

30%

0

9%

ECE

5

5

12%

0

0%

MIE

11

9

21%

1

0%

 

Highlights from week 9 (the previous week): We had two excellent submissions from CHE last week! Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Sarah Perry for Engin 110 – Introduction to Chemical Engineering. The lesson asks students working in groups to research a compound and share details on its manufacture, uses, and history. Specifically, it challenges the students to think about social and/or environmental justice concerns associated with the compound and industrial process, as well as how the process might be altered to address these concerns. The students commended this plan for how “it asks students to look at the decisions they may be asked to make in the workplace, and the repercussions they have in ethics.”  Congratulations to Professor Perry for bringing DEI into the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!

 

 

Submissions through Week 9:

 

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

3

2

33%

0

0%

CEE

5

3

11%

0

0%

ChemE

10

7

30%

2

9%

ECE

5

5

12%

0

0%

MIE

10

8

21%

0

0%

 

Highlighted Plans:  We had a great batch of submissions last week! Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Omar Adelrahman for ChemE 444 – Chemical Process Design. The lesson focuses on the  relationships between process design, chemical accidents,  and environmental justice, asking students to investigate biases in how processes are designed.  The students commended this plan for how “it asks students to both learn about how systemic racism hurts people "in real life" and to incorporate what they've learned into their own designs.”  Congratulations to Professor Abdelrahman for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!  The students also wanted to highlight Mike Zink’s use of a data set from the current COVID-19 pandemic to track its correlation to race; Tilman Wolf’s lesson on the digital divide; and Sarah Perry’s lesson focusing on Frances Arnold, the first Chemical Engineer to win a Noble Prize, also the first women to win the prize in Chemistry. Remember, you can take a look at the submitted lesson plans in Highlighted Lesson Plans

 

Submissions through Week 8: 

 

                             Cumulative 

This Week 

 

Number of submissions 

Number of faculty 

Proportion of faculty 

Number 

As a proportion of faculty 

BME 

33% 

0% 

CEE 

11% 

0% 

ChemE 

10 

30% 

13% 

ECE 

12% 

5% 

MIE 

10 

21% 

3% 

 

Highlighed Plans: Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Casey Brown for CEE 462/597  Water Resources Engineering and Sustainability.  This lesson plan discusses the concept of sustainability and focuses on decision making approaches for siting infrastructure projects using dams as an example. It specifically introduces different ways to measure the  distribution of benefits and costs.  The students commended this plan for showing “how an engineering solution might benefit a nation but bring ruin to a community,”  and for asking  students “to re-evaluate how they design” in an area that “has preexisting racial, cultural, religious, and gender biases.” Congratulations to Professor Brown for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!  

 

Submissions through Week 7: 

 

Cumulative 

This Week 

 

Number of submissions 

Number of faculty 

Proportion of faculty 

Number 

As a proportion of faculty 

BME 

33% 

0% 

CEE 

11% 

0% 

ChemE 

22% 

4% 

ECE 

7% 

0% 

 MIE 

18% 

5% 

 

Highlighted plans: Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Yanfei Xu for MIE 375  Manufacturing Processes.  As part of a lesson and larger class project on manufacturing solar cells, students will address how changes in solar manufacturing processes could make it more equitable.  The students felt that this plan “did a good job of giving students a glimpse of what it's like to be an ethical engineer working to solve a real-life design,” and that it includes “excellent resources and specific articles” that it “directly connects … to engineering design and process, which is great!”  Congratulations to Professor Xu for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!

 

Submissions through Week 6:

 

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

3

2

33%

0

0%

CEE

5

3

11%

1

17%

ChemE

6

4

17%

1

17%

ECE

3

3

7%

0

0%

MIE

7

6

16%

1

17%

 

Highlighted plan:

Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Cathal Kearny BME 330 Quantitative Physiology. In this lesson, the students investigate how data in this field may be skewed by racial and gender bias. Student reviewers noted that the lesson plan “…paves the way for more conversation on the topics of data bias throughout the course without the need to individually implement many different lesson plans… this is a more integrative approach rather than a "one-and-done" lesson,” and  appreciated that it tackles “… a relevant and crucial part of … engineering design and how it's implicitly flawed, and does a good job of asking students to consider it deeply.”  Congratulations to Professor Kearny for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!  This and other lesson plans are available in Box. 

 

 

Submissions by Week Ending September 25:

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

3

3

50%

1

17%

CEE

4

2

7%

0

0%

ChemE

5

3

13%

0

0%

ECE

3

3

7%

0

0%

MIE

6

6

16%

1

3%

 

 

Highlighted plan:  

Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Chaitra Gopalappa Industrial Engineering 290H Simulation Modeling for Disease Prevention. The lesson uses systems thinking to formulate models to inform HIV prevention strategies.  Students consider upstream root causes leading to high-risk behavior, such as abuse and poverty, and consider the role of a range of interventions, such as housing assistance.  Student reviewers appreciated that this lesson plan “…touches upon the necessity of engineers to understand fundamental human factors in different communities...”  Congratulations to Professor Gopalappa for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!  Other noteworthy lessons included a discussion of how diversity influences patient outcomes, how this informs material design process, and the role of engineers in addressing healthcare inequalities; and the use of a case study to explore DEI indicators for system performance.

 

Submissions Received by Week Ending Sept 18:

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number of submissions

Number of faculty

Proportion of faculty

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

2

2

33%

2

33%

CEE

4

2

7%

1

4%

ChemE

5

3

13%

1

4%

ECE

3

3

7%

0

0%

MIE

5

5

13%

3

8%

 

 

Highlighted plan:  Our team of students highlighted the lesson plan by Yubing Sun in Mechanical Engineering 210 Statics. This  innovative class integrates a critical analysis of gender and racial bias with CAD modeling through a study of the FIU-Sweetwater Bridge Collapse. Student reviewers appreciated that this lesson plan “looks at the challenges of engineering and the broader impacts of engineering work…” through “…a real-life case of gender discrimination in engineering.”  Congratulations to Professor Sun for bringing DEI into  the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!

 

Submissions Received by Week Ending Sept 11:

 

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number

As a proportion of faculty*

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

0

0%

0

0%

CEE

3

11%

0

0%

ChemE

4

17%

1

4%

ECE

3

7%

0

0%

MIE

2

5%

1

3%

 

Highlighted Plan, week of Sept 11: 

 
Jungwoo Lee; ChemENG 575: Tissue Engineering
This class will consist of an interactive lecture and group discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in biomedical research, focused three specific examples; including the lack of research on sickle cell anemia, a disease that primarily impacts the Black population. Student evaluators liked that it “gives concrete case studies explaining the history of inequity in biomedical research,” but also “presents positive steps being taken to address these issues…” thus empowering students to take action and advocate for improvements in their field.
 
Congratulations to Professor Lee for bringing DEI into the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!  This and other lesson plans are available in Box. 
 
Other noteworthy lessons included a discussion on batch processing in chemical engineering that highlights the role of the first woman to get a PhD in Chemical Engineering; and a class that includes breakout discussions from both a technical  and social viewpoint of how discrimination effects security engineering.

 

Submissions Received by Week Ending Sept 4:

Cumulative

This Week

 

Number

As a proportion of faculty*

Number

As a proportion of faculty

BME

0

0%

0

0%

CEE

3

11%

1

4%

ChemE

3

13%

2

9%

ECE

3

7%

1

2%

MIE

1

3%

0

0%

*Faculty may submit more than one. This is the total number submitted by a department divided by number of faculty; and so may be over 100%

 

Highlighted Plans, week of Sept 4

Nick Tooker, Engin 111: Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering
In this lesson, students are asked to examine their semester project of designing a building from the perspective of sustainability along with structural, geotechnical, transportation, and environmental &water resources engineering. They specifically discuss differences and similarities in their personal backgrounds and experiences, and how this impacts design preferences. Student evaluators liked the inclusion of resources (an article and a podcast) that allow the students to “critically examine their field.” They noted that the lesson plan is “explicitly impactful in racial biases in STEM.”
 
Peter Beltramo, ChemE 297A: Special Topics- The Business of Chemical Engineering
In this lesson students use the Flint water crisis to examine engineering solutions to real world problems, policy and environmental regulations and the disproportionate impact of failures on marginalized groups and communities. The lesson plan combines technical content on lead exposure and engineering of water purification systems with reflections on racial bias. Student evaluators noted that the lesson does a “good job of taking a problem that was created by flawed engineering based in systemic racism--pertinent to the class and geared towards DEI concepts,” and that it “addresses important engineering issues while also tying in social and economic justice issues seamlessly into the lesson plan.”
 
Congratulations to professors Tooker and Beltramo for bringing DEI into the curriculum in thoughtful, impactful ways!
 
Especially creative and effective lesson plans will be highlighted and available in Box.
We hope the sharing of ideas will inspire even more unique approaches.