Carnegie Mellon University

 Sarah Christian and David Rounce

June 22, 2021

Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Coursework

CEE professors, Sarah Christian and David Rounce, were selected for a 2021-22 Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellowship. This fellowship program is designed to support the development and implementation of inclusive teaching techniques to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in coursework. 

Christian and Rounce submitted their proposal to build out the 12-401 CEE Design: Imagine, Build, Test, which is the senior CEE capstone course. The course is the fourth in a series of project-based courses and is taken in the final year of the curriculum. Students work with teams throughout the semester to develop, construct, and test their solution to a CEE problem.

Together, they will be adding a learning objective to the course that addresses how students can work on a community-led project by working effectively with community members from diverse backgrounds and how students can leverage the community’s knowledge to imagine/build/test the most appropriate, societally-relevant solution. Additionally, we plan to alter a learning objective related to teamwork to address methods of working inclusively within and between teams.

By working on projects with community partners, the goal is that students will learn and appreciate different stakeholders and to consider equitable solutions for projects. “By integrating this training into the course,” says Christian, “we hope that our graduates will be more socially-conscious in their lives and professional practice and help to build a more equitable society.”

With explicit training, practice, and reflection, students will be given tools to do this effectively in a way not previously integrated in the traditional CEE curriculum. These skills are also a part of post-graduation professional practice, often overlooked by engineers who tend to focus on the technical aspects of a project. 

As this is the fourth in a series of project-based courses, Christian and Rounce plan to work with the faculty of preceding courses to integrate these concepts and make diversity, equity, and inclusion more central to the CEE curriculum to further student’s level of competency in this area during their academic career.

9-industry-600-min.jpgThis story demonstrates CMU's work toward attaining Sustainable Development Goal 10 of the 17 Global Goals to create a more equitable and viable planet by 2030.