By Lynn Rollins, Case Western Reserve University; Kelly Bohrer, University of Dayton; Sarah Brownell, Rochester Institute of Technology Last summer, in response to the changing landscape on university campuses due to COVID-19, the Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Engineering Action reached out to our colleagues who likewise partner with communities on student design projects aimed at serving vulnerable populations. Since personal connection and travel is important to much of our work, the current pandemic has made our mission even more challenging. And COVID-19 was just the beginning of the many issues that would come into sharper focus in 2020! Last August as we gathered over Zoom with several colleagues, we sought to learn how other organizations are responding and to discuss best ways to ethically and effectively do this work in light of the multitude of challenges. Our intention was to catalog best practices, report on issues and identify opportunities for collaboration. What resulted was a lively discussion that left the group wanting to reach a larger audience. Hence the idea of creating a special session for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2021 conference was born. Our special session: At the Crossroads of Community Engagement, Ethics, Liberal Education, and Social Responsibility: Community engaged engineering education challenges and opportunities in light of COVID-19, aims to widely share these conversations, catalyze more connections, shine a light on historical injustices and inequities, and consider ways to advance the multi-faceted field of community engagement in engineering education. We have gathered a panel of experts (engineering faculty, engaged scholars, community engagement professionals, community leaders, and engineering students) to reflect critically and share how organizations and institutions are:
- Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic and other global challenges.
- Developing new community engaged learning best practices for long-term societal impact.
- Creating ethical and effective partnership practices.
- Examining and responding to past injustices caused by or related to the field of engineering and/or community/university engagement.
- Forming future engineers with a mindset for equity, inclusion, and collaboration and competent in human/equity-centered design and ethical, sociotechnical solutions.
- Drawing from other disciplines and ways of knowing to better our engagement work and our engineering education for ethical engagement.
- Repurposing innovative adaptations used during COVID times to expand and deepen the community engagement field.
- Mira Olson - Associate Professor in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department and Director of Technical Extension for the Peace Engineering Program, Drexel University
- Tunya Griffin - Associate Director of University Community Partnerships (UCP), Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
- Nora Pillard Reynolds - Director of the Community-based Global Learning Collaborative; Fellow for Ethical Global Learning at Haverford College
- William (Bill) Oakes - 150th Anniversary Professor, Director of the EPICS Program, Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University
- Juan Lucena - Professor, Engineering, Design, & Society, Co-director, Humanitarian Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
- Waleska Crowe - Deputy Director of the Guatemala Office for EWB USA
- Kelly Bohrer - Director of Community Relations for University of Dayton’s School of Engineering, Acting Director of the University of Dayton’s ETHOS Center
- Sarah Brownell - Senior Lecturer in Engineering Leadership Design Development and Manufacturing, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE); Director of the RIT Grand Challenges Scholars Program
- Lynn Ameen Rollins - Program Director for the Center for Engineering Action at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU); Instructor in the Case School of Engineering
- Kat Nilov - Engineering student, University of Massachusetts
- Sanjana Manghnani - Engineering student, University of Massachusetts