Small Group Activity: Craft a Proposal Title

Facilitator: Amy Slaton

Participants were asked to work collaboratively with the others at their table to craft a proposal title for a research or implementation project that would either broaden participation or expand research capacity in engineering for underrepresented groups. They were reminded to use the threads of theories, methods, questions, practices, and experiential knowledge. The purpose of the activity was to free participants from familiar constraints, such as the conventions of “appropriate” research scale, scope, format, or language, and from any deference to existing scholarship. Participants were instructed to ignore any concerns about budget, disciplinary fit, and experimental design and instead challenge the normally unrecognized limits to research. The groups reported their ideas to the larger group. Some titles identified “missing” subject areas (say, intersectional or under-reported categories of student and faculty experiences) while others honed in on conditions of research that might be challenged (aiming their dream project at immense, minute, highly personal, or otherwise transgressive sorts of inquiries). This was, in other words, a kind of playful exercise that nonetheless revealed the rarely acknowledged conditions of research.