Chair's Distinguished Lecture: Supporting DEI Efforts in Engineering Education

WHERE: Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building, 1109 FXB Boeing Lecture Hall show on map

WHEN: January 13, 2022 3:00 pm-4:15 pmADD TO CALENDAR

Chair's Distinguished Lecture: Supporting DEI Efforts in Engineering Education

Dr. Karen Thomas-Brown
Associate Dean
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
College of Engineering
University of Washington

The body of knowledge in STEM education pays scant attention to the gendered nature of women's educational experiences, empirical evidence on faculty diversity initiatives, and the extent to which minoritized scientists, mainly black scientists, are funded. Even less attention is given to practical support for faculty diversity and the insidious barriers to funding for URM graduate students, faculty, and researchers through grants and scholarships. Additionally, there is professional isolation, the uncommon service load, and other expectations not addressed, while female and nonbinary constituents have their belonging repeatedly questioned. The systemic barriers entrenched in the rhetoric of “this is how we have always done it” that your URM grapple with daily in STEM education on a plethora of scales and at various levels of engagement foreshadows the need for non-performative work in this space. These are just a few scenarios that show the need for targeted, evidence-based DEI efforts in Colleges of Engineering. Our work in the Office of Inclusive Excellence focuses on systemic barriers and the solutions for dismantling these. The work uses a mission-driven, strategically focused approach that prioritizes inclusive infrastructure, data-driven equity-mindedness, and organizational change to diversify, establish, and sustain inclusive policies and practices, and changes the culture.

About the speaker:
Dr. Karen Thomas-Brown leads the University of Washington’s (UW) College of Engineering ongoing efforts to be an accessible, welcoming and inclusive community. She develops best practices and guidelines that strengthen the College’s goals around diversity, equity and inclusion, and collaborates with College and campus leaders to develop and implement programs that increase the participation and engagement of diverse and underrepresented groups across the College. Dr. Thomas-Brown joined the UW from the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) where she was a professor in the College of Education, Health and Humans Services with research and teaching in the Department of Education and the Department of Social Sciences. She holds a Ph.D. and Bachelor's degree in geography specializing in social and urban structures focusing on the sociological variables that shape human systems; and professional certificates in Executive Leadership, Performance Leadership, Change Management, and Diversity and Inclusion (DEI) from Cornell University.