About the Who’s Not at the Table Project

This Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE) project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF, grant #EEC-1551402). The goal of the project is to build capacity to conduct formal research on broadening participation of LGBTQ, LIFG, veterans, and people with disabilities. The desire is to create a landscape where research on the participation of these groups is

  • popularized (i.e., gaining more research practitioners from more communities),
  • legitimized (i.e., made reasonable and welcome among other engineering education research topics), and
  • enriched (i.e., made more rigorous and extensive in its critical aims).

The objectives of the project are to

  • develop an understanding of how to increase research capacity in the area of broadening participation of underrepresented, underserved, and undercounted groups;
  • conduct a conference of individuals representing a wide range of stakeholder groups who will contribute to the project goal;
  • develop summary proceedings for the conference that include a synthesis of input presented at the meeting as a contribution toward creating a research agenda around the project goal; and
  • disseminate findings through the project website, online forums, and conferences that project leaders and participants routinely attend.

The project serves to explore transformative concepts and advance knowledge and understanding with respect to five key questions:

  • What research is needed to increase our understanding of broadening participation in engineering of a wide range of underrepresented, underserved, and/or undercounted groups?
  • What resources, infrastructure, programs, etc., are needed to broaden the participation in engineering of a wide range of underrepresented, underserved, and/or undercounted groups?
  • How does current research and practice reproduce marginalization of underrepresented and underserved students?
  • What theories, critical questions, and methodologies promote the best research and practice in this area?
  • What recommendations do we have for promoting research and evidence-based practices that will lead to broadening participation in engineering that engages a wide range of underrepresented, underserved, and/or undercounted groups?

Project Principal Investigators (PIs) believe that conference participants and researchers around the country will embark on new research projects focused on improving the representation of underrepresented, underserved, and undercounted groups in engineering. Without excluding inquiry into matters of race, ethnicity, and gender, these project leaders hope to bring more severely understudied experiences among students, faculty, and employees in engineering fields into clearer and more sustained focus. Questions about existing national understandings of diversity and identity, and about institutional commitments to equitable opportunities in engineering, will be formulated, and new inquiries about these issues inspired.

The project leaders for the Who’s Not at the Table are

  • Julie Martin, Clemson University;
  • Sheryl Burgstahler, University of Washington; and
  • Amy Slaton, Drexel University.

A project advisory board has helped identify broad research areas, recruit conference participants, and develop the conference agenda and execution. In addition to the three project leaders, the following individuals serve on the advisory board:

  • Karl Booksch, Professor, Chemistry, University of Delaware
  • Juan Lucena, Professor, Liberal Arts and Intl. Studies and Director, Center for Humanitarian Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
  • Alice Pawley, Associate Professor of Engineering Education, Purdue University
  • Darryl Williams, Director, Center for STEM Diversity, Tufts University
  • Donna Riley, Professor of Engineering Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Project leaders hosted the conference described in these proceedings and also facilitate an ongoing online community of practice to discuss topics that support the project objectives.