Faculty College: Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity, and Gender

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In 2016, Stanford’s Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) funded a Faculty College to develop and expand a new course titled “Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity, and Gender” (EEL) (cross-listed as ENGR311c/FEMGEN311c). A Faculty College brings small faculty teams together over the course of the academic year to plan, study, and develop innovative curricular and pedagogical ideas. It provides these faculty teams with the space, time, and resources to work collaboratively on projects.

The goals of this Faculty College are to provide more students with knowledge of diversity and culture, engage more faculty in designing related learning opportunities, and explore how to put such knowledge to use in teaching and research for more inclusive educational experiences and better scholarship. This Faculty College will accomplish these goals by creating a collaborative network of faculty in engineering, humanities, and social science fields who will regularly come together to engage in course (re)design and discuss implications of course content for broader change in STEM.


Engineers design solutions with and for people – people who come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, with many different and intersectional identities based on gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, and more. However, without learning experiences focused on dimensions of human diversity, engineers are more likely to fall back on stereotypes and personal frames of reference that can limit the scope and quality of their work.

This Faculty College will engage a cross-disciplinary team of faculty members and educators to build upon the experience of a Fall 2015 pilot course that brought research on culture, diversity and gender to the engineering curriculum in a focused, intentional manner. Through collaborative learning and planning, this College seeks to provide more students with knowledge of diversity and culture, engage more faculty in designing related learning opportunities, and explore how to put such knowledge to use in teaching and research for more inclusive classrooms and better scholarship.

There are currently few opportunities for Stanford engineering students to learn about cultural diversity in the context of engineering. This Faculty College responds to the needs of the School of Engineering identified through strategic planning, and builds upon Stanford’s missions in excellence, diversity, and interdisciplinary scholarship.

See here for an overview of courses in the U.S. like Expanding Engineering Limits, authored by our undergraduate research assistant Amber Levine in 2016: stanford.box.com/s/kvnsblh0n126zqgyc1pgqggcvxlvu4cs

Schedule of Events

Date Activity
June 8, 2016 All-hands meeting #1 - Kick-off to the Faculty College
July-August, 2016 Interviews of 13 core members
September 19, 2016 All-hands meeting #2 – Planning activities and milestones for the year
October 14, 2016
VPTL Faculty College Plenary Session (12pm-4pm)
December 12, 2016
All-hands meeting #3 - Mid-point check-in
February 3, 2017
VPTL Faculty College Plenary Session (9am-1pm)
April 7, 2017
VPTL Faculty College Plenary Session (12pm-4pm)
May 8, 2017  All-hands meeting #4 – Final get-together, review of work

Faculty College Participants

This Faculty College is led by Sheri Sheppard (Mechanical Engineering), and co-led by Carol Muller (WISE Ventures) and Shannon Gilmartin (Mechanical Engineering, Clayman Institute).

In addition to the leads, the thirteen “core” members of this Faculty College are:

Our Faculty College RA is Jason Randolph (Education).

Our student consultants include:

  • Andrew Doyle (Ph.D. student, Chemical Engineering)
  • Amber Levine (Undergraduate, Architectural Design)
  • Chelsea Onyeador (Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Chloe Wiggins (Undergraduate, Civil & Environmental Engineering)

We have four Senior Advisors to our work:

  • Chris Gonzalez Clarke, VPGE
  • Shelley Correll, Sociology, Clayman Institute
  • Jim Plummer, Electrical Engineering
  • Beth Pruitt, Mechanical Engineering

Our five VPTL partners are:

  • Alison Brauneis
  • Jennifer Crosby
  • Lisa Hwang (also in Chemical Engineering)
  • Vera Michalchik
  • Gloriana Trujillo

Our Stanford Libraries partners are:

  • Sarah Lester
  • Alesia Montgomery
  • Regina Roberts

Our "Friends of the College" community is growing and draws from across the university:

  • Stacey Bent (Professor, Chemical Engineering)
  • Emilio Botero (Ph.D. student, Aeronautics and Astronautics)
  • Caitlin Chapin (Ph.D. student, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Marina Dimitrov (Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Sahar El-Abbadi (Ph.D. student, Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Ken Goodson (professor, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Petr Johanes (Ph.D. student, Education)
  • Connor Jordan (Undergraduate, Engineering)
  • Sara Jordan-Bloch (Sociologist, Clayman Institute)
  • Alicia Menendez (Undergraduate, Earth Systems)
  • Ana Ordonez (Undergraduate, Bioengineering/Engineering)
  • Beth Rieken (Ph.D. student, Mechanical Engineering)
  • David Stonestrom (Ph.D. student, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Ben von Unold (Master's student, Technical University of Munich)

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