Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Reflections from the Field

14 Dec 2021 5:05 PM | Annmarie Uliano (Administrator)

by Woodrow Winchester, III, PhD, CPEM

It has indeed been my honor and pleasure to present this series of “Reflections from the Field” in response to the ASEM+UMBC webinar series that explored Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE/I) in Technical Management and Technological Development.  I am so thankful to the leadership of ASEM in affording both space and time for these deeper and more contemplative engagements with the concepts, topics, and insights offered by the series.

Too often in engineering – both in education and practice, reflection is undervalued.  I feel that we often get so caught up in acting (i.e., doing) that we don’t generally make or take the time to pause and reflect on truly (a) What we are doing? (b) Why? (c) How? and (d) What are/could be the associated unintended and/or unanticipated consequences of these actions (e.g., bias, exclusion, oppression)?  Particularly as we accelerate the use of technology in addressing some of society’s greatest challenges, the importance of this line of questioning is great and, in my opinion, should be simply a part of “how” engineering is done (see:  Forget ‘fail fast’.  Here’s how to truly master digital innovation)

Mr. Chris Coventry, CPEM, in this installment’s reflection, discusses how the series prompted “questions for him” and “opened his eyes” to both the relevance and need for a greater awareness of DE/I within engineering and engineering management contexts.  This is encouraging and truly demonstrative of the intent of the series.  It is my belief that only through the critical self-examination and reflection role-modeled by both Mr. Chris Coventry, CPEM and Dr. Jamie Gurganus, can we as a community begin to fully embrace the more holistic and reflexive engineering approaches needed to develop and deploy more inclusive, equitable and just technological solutions.  Echoing sentiments expressed in the paper Engineering, Patriarchy, and Pluriverse: What World of Many Worlds Do We Design? What Worlds Do We Teach?

“…we must begin to question our own assumptions, challenge ourselves on our mindset, and become self-critical in how and why we do things the way we do.” So that, “we can work to better understand cultures, places, and ways of being other than our own

About the Author

Woodrow W. Winchester, III, PhD, CPEM® is the Graduate Program Director for Interdisciplinary Graduate programs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is also the Professional Development & Continuing Education Director for ASEM. A trained human factors engineer and Certified Professional in Engineering Management (CPEM), Dr. Woodrow W. Winchester, III is an advocate for more equitable, inclusive, and consequential approaches to technological design and deployment. He is currently under contract with CRC Press to write Inclusion by Design: Future Thinking Approaches to New Product Development (ISBN: 978-0-367-41687-4).

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