The need to increase diversity and inclusion in the field of engineering is widely recognized as a critical issue in our profession. This has resulted in an abundance of research and vigorous efforts to increase participation of underrepresented groups in engineering; however, there is a paucity of research on LGBTQ inclusion and participation in engineering. Despite the recent advances in LGBTQ equality through legislation and societal acceptance in some countries around the world, LGBTQ individuals face exclusion, discrimination and overt hostility in many environments – including classrooms and workplaces. This presentation introduces the critical topic of LGBTQ inclusion from a cross-cultural perspective as well as a workforce perspective, discusses research on LGBTQ inclusion in engineering environments, and highlights some of the advances resulting from the work of the NSF-sponsored Virtual Community of Practice for LGBTQ Equality in Engineering.
Dr. Stephanie Farrell is Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University (USA) and the 2017-18 President-Elect of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Stephanie is principal investigator of the groundbreaking project Promoting LGBTQ Equality in Engineering through Virtual Communities of Practice, funded by the National Science Foundation. This project has generated knowledge about barriers and inclusion strategies, and has brought Safe Zone Ally training to STEM professionals via webinars and workshops at national meetings, equiping hundreds of allies to foster inclusive environments for LGBTQ individuals in academia and industry.
Dr. Farrell has been recognized nationally and internationally for contributions to engineering education through her work in experiential learning and faculty development. Stephanie was the 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland). In 2012 she was awarded Honoris Causa in Engineering Education from the Internationale Gesellschaft für Inginieurpädagogik (IGIP). She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) with several teaching awards such as the National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the Quinn Award for experiential learning. Her research interests also include inductive teaching in engineering pedagogy and development of spatial visualization skills.
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