Sustainable Racial Equity: Creating a New Generation of Engineering Education DEI Leaders
Effective Years: 2022-2027
This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2).
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity that supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education, to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization, and to build a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. This CAREER project aims to explore the beliefs, experiences, educational training, and research that supports the development of effective engineering education leaders who are assuming roles focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Advancing equity and broadening the participation of historically marginalized populations in engineering remain a priority for sustaining U.S. global leadership and economic progress. DEI initiatives, programs, and research are increasing in number across the country in an effort to better understand and dismantle the challenges. However, many DEI efforts are developed in isolation and are not supported by strong institutional commitment and policy. Results from this work will advance understanding of DEI issues, approaches, and effective institutional implementation and will prepare the next generation of DEI leaders to promote long-term, sustainable racial equity initiatives.
Three primary objectives guide this research effort. First, is to understand DEI leaders’ perceptions, knowledge, and challenges around their roles. Second is to examine the extent to which those perceptions compare and contrast with graduate students and early career faculty members from groups who have been historically underrepresented in their participation in STEM fields of study. Third, is to develop training and faculty development programs to prepare the next generation of DEI leaders. Data will be collected in the first phase of the project by conducting interviews with DEI leaders at multiple institutions and contrasting their experiences with a document analysis of institutional DEI programs, policies, awards, and incentives. In a subsequent phase the project will use a survey, based on results from phase one, to examine the beliefs and practices of engineering faculty members and graduate students from groups historically marginalized in engineering. Training and faculty development are the focus of phase three, which includes the preparation of senior PhD students and early-career faculty members in engineering not only for DEI positions, but also for research, teaching, mentoring, and enhancing student understanding of DEI issues.
This project is funded by the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program, with the support of the NSF Racial Equity Program Description.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.