Publication Date



This Work in Progress paper will present the College of Engineering Dean’s Racial Justice Curriculum Challenge. This challenge tasks all faculty in the college to use their engineering problem-solving skills to develop creative ways to incorporate issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice in every class we teach. The challenge was inspired by our students, who requested a greater connection between the technical content of classes and real world issues, in particular the role engineers play in either fostering inclusive solutions or contributing to the propagation of inequities. The intent is to engage faculty in the development of new curriculum, and success was measured by the level of engagement, and featured direct student feedback into the curriculum ideas.

Starting in 2020-2021 academic year, we challenged every faculty member to contribute to the Dean’s Curriculum Challenge. Each lesson plan was reviewed by a team of students, and at least one was highlighted each week. We received 67 lesson plans from 45 faculty members, impacting 52 courses. Several courses included more than one racial justice themed lesson during the semester. Faculty participation rates were higher in Fall 2020, but varied across departments: 33% of biomedical engineering (BME), 7% of civil engineering (CE), 61% of chemical engineering (CHE), 15% of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), and 26% of mechanical and industrial engineering (MIE). In Spring 2021, 83% of BME, 14% of CE, 26% of CHE, 5% of MIE, and 33% of our Junior Year Writing faculty participated. In total, 3 freshmen, 10 sophomore, 12 junior, 8 senior, 12 senior/graduate, and 9 graduate level classes were impacted. In Fall 2021 we added a second challenge faculty could contribute to: the Inclusive Design challenge. Thus far, we have had 5 submissions from 3 faculty members and 1 graduate student teaching fellow. In addition, the challenge inspired individual department “brainstorming sessions” to discuss pedagogy and best practices for introducing these topics into a variety of class types.

This paper will describe the lessons learned as the Dean’s Curriculum Challenge has been implemented as well as plans for sustaining and further supporting the challenge. This will include types of lesson plans, activities, and class discussions that were introduced. Once the program has been established, data will be collected from faculty on what they found effective and whether they continued these or other related activities in future semesters. In the 2021-2022 academic year, several highlighted submissions were presented by the faculty to a wider audience within the college.

Journal or Book Title

American Society for Engineering Education ASEE/ELD Conference