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  1. Rocio Chavela Guerra
  2. Director
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. American Society for Engineering Education, Rowan University
  1. Stephanie Farrell
  2. Professor and Chair
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Rowan University, American Society for Engineering Education

EAGER: Promoting LGBTQ Equality in Engineering through Virtual Communities of...

NSF Awards: 1539140

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate, Informal / multi-age

Research in the nascent field of LGBTQ experiences in STEM has shown that engineering can be a “chilly climate” for LGBTQ students and professionals. This climate can be found in every sector of STEM professions, where cultural norms and professional ideologies make it difficult to recognize and rectify exclusionary practices.  

This project addresses the critical need to diversify the engineering workforce by increasing the participation of LGBTQ students and faculty.  The project supports the development of a Virtual Community of Practice committed to fostering LGBTQ inclusion in engineering, whose members are: (1) equipped to implement strategies for fostering an inclusive climate, (2) empowered to take action to advance LGBTQ equality in their departments, (3) engaged in nationwide dissemination of strategies and promising practices for LGBTQ inclusion in engineering.  The Virtual Community of Practice offers a mechanism for members to share knowledge, ideas, and resources and to support one another as they develop and implement action plans to promote LGBTQ equality in their engineering departments and colleges. 

Community members have focused on the systematic development and formative refinement of an online “Safe Zone” course to provide inclusion training to engineering students and professionals nationwide.   Safe Zone workshops create a network with the awareness, knowledge and skills to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ faculty and students. To maximize the visibility and impact of the Safe Zone workshops, they are offered both online and at engineering professional society conferences. 

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