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EDUCATION IN ENGINEERING LECTURE
Alice Pawley, Purdue
Host: Prof. Greg Evans
Social activism has increased, even during the COVID pandemic, around both systemic racism in North America and around the climate crisis internationally. While both movements have roots decades old, we are not yet seeing a sea-change in engineering curricula around either, despite its necessity. I argue there are similarities between engineering education’s intransigence on social justice and equity issues and its lack of adequate response regarding the global climate crisis. Scholars in linguistics, education, sociology, and critical race studies, and journalists writing about the climate crisis, can help us see how both are related to a moral discussion rather than the techno-rational one that scientists, engineers, and science and engineering educators seem most equipped to have. In this talk, I call for the development of a moral infrastructure to address both engineering education’s foundation in white supremacy, and its global obligation to halt the anthropogenic climate crisis.
Alice Pawley (she, her) is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Program, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. Prof. Pawley’s goal through her work at Purdue is to help people, including the engineering education profession, develop a vision of engineering education as more inclusive, engaged, and socially just. She runs the Feminist Research in Engineering Education Group, whose diverse projects and group members are described at pawleyresearch.org. She has won numerous best paper awards in ASEE, and professional awards, including a PECASE award, ABIE Denice Denton award, the ASEE-LEES Sterling Olmsted award, and mentoring and leadership awards in her school. She helped found, fund, and grow the PEER Collaborative, a peer-mentoring community of academics primarily evaluated on doing engineering education research. She is president of Purdue’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (2020-22).
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