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Building Equity into the
Design Process
Module created by Sydney Turner, Patrick Hancock, Bethany Gordon, Katelyn Stenger

Engineers have a unique role in society. While we are problem-solvers, we alone cannot create solutions to all problems. The mindset of the sole problem-solver has historically created inequities. To transform engineering practices, we will need to acknowledge and reconcile our history, take actions that would foster a shift in power dynamics to where all communities have an equal voice, and solidify a design process centered on social justice.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:


  1. Recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how the role of the engineer/designer has been affected by those dynamics.

  2. Identify ways to take effective action to transform the design process toward a more equitable practice. 

  3. Recognize the significance of attributes such as race, class/income, age, gender, and disability status in order to bridge the gap between social justice and engineering.

Facilitation Guide

Corresponding Assignment

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