DEIJ Conversations: Tufts ACT-for-STEM Program

DEIJ Conversation Tufts ACT-for-STEM Program

Friday, September 23, 2022
Joyce Cummings Center, Room 280
1:00 PM


In 2020 and 2021, we witnessed several examples of social injustice and social unrest. As human beings and educators, we must decide how we want to respond to what happened and how we want to move forward. Calls to improve our approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have coincided with the call to update our overall engineering curriculum.

Over the years, several initiatives have been launched to address such issues, which primarily attempt to address perceived inadequacies in underrepresented students. However, scarce efforts have been developed to address the engineering culture that has limited the full participation in engineering by women, people of color, or the queer identified. Furthermore, few of us in STEM have the knowledge, skills, or ability to productively engage with issues leading to the marginalization and social unrest. Rarely do we dare to apply our problem-solving or critical thinking approaches to how we educate or improving DEI efforts.

As a result, the goal of this talk is to provide the STEM community with language to have an honest conversation about our individual and collective response to the inequity in STEM and realign our actions to improve engineering education. This impactful workshop will provide definitions and practical examples of key DEI concepts based on holistic interdisciplinary research and within the STEM cultural context. 

About the speaker:

Dean Chris Swan

Chris Swan

Chris Swan is the Dean of Undergraduate Education and an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

Swan currently teaches undergraduate-level courses that introduce general concepts of civil and environmental engineering (CEE 001) and geotechnical engineering (CEE 042). An initiator of the use of service learning in department courses, Swan continues to champion the development, implementation, and assessment of community engagement efforts in engineering education.

Chris Swan's current research interests lie in the areas of engineering education, waste reuse, and unique soil behaviors. Specific research projects include: impacts of community engagement on the education of engineering students; evaluating the benefits and barriers to faculty who are involved in various community engagement in engineering education efforts; research on the reuse of fly ash from coal burning facilities as a component of a synthetic lightweight aggregate; and behavior of soils undergoing cycles of freezing and thawing.