Despite efforts to increase diversity among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, inclusion continues to be a struggle, said Donna Riley, professor of engineering education at Purdue University.
Riley, the Kamyar Haghighi Head of Purdue’s School of Engineering Education, will discuss how and why equity and inclusion in STEM have defied decades of research and educational innovation during the Chancellor’s Dialogue on Diversity and Interdisciplinarity lecture on Sept. 13 at UC Merced.
Riley’s talk begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Classroom and Office Building 1, Room 120. A reception will follow in the Classroom and Office Building 2, Room 390. The event is open to everyone and those interested in attending can RSVP online .
In addition to race and gender, Riley talks about including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning populations under the umbrella of diversity.
“Dr. Riley borrows concepts learned in the social sciences about diversifying the higher education academy and applies them specifically toward STEM,” said Associate Chancellor Luanna Putney, UC Merced’s chief ethics officer. “Our hope is that this lecture will highlight methods we can use to increase diversity in STEM among our undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty.”
Through her work, Riley questions the silence in STEM fields around topics of race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and other forms of identity. Purdue’s School of Engineering Education is designed to provide a more inclusive, socially connected and scholarly engineering education that rethinks the boundaries of engineering and the purpose of engineering education.
"Dr. Riley borrows concepts learned in the social sciences about diversifying the higher education academy and applies them specifically toward STEM. Our hope is that this lecture will highlight methods we can use to increase diversity in STEM among our undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty."
Riley joined Purdue in 2017 from Virginia Tech, where she was professor and interim head of the Department of Engineering Education. From 2013 to 2015, she served as program director for Engineering Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Riley spent 13 years as a founding faculty member of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College, the first engineering program at a U.S. women’s college. In 2005, she received an NSF CAREER award on implementing and assessing pedagogies of liberation in engineering classrooms.
She has written two books, “Engineering and Social Justice” and “Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems,” both published by Morgan and Claypool. She served a two-year term as deputy editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, rotated through the leadership of the Liberal Education/Engineering and Society (LEES) Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and currently serves on the ASEE Diversity Committee.
She is the recipient of the 2016 Alfred N. Goldsmith Award from the IEEE Professional Communications Society; the 2012 Sterling Olmsted Award from ASEE; the 2010 Educator of the Year award from the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP); and the 2006 Benjamin Dasher Award from Frontiers in Education.
Riley earned a B.S.E. in chemical engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in engineering and public policy. She is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.
Established in 2016, the Chancellor’s Dialogue on Diversity and Interdisciplinarity lecture series highlights UC Merced’s commitment to interdisciplinary research and campus diversity and inclusion — critical components of student success. Lectures in the series are held twice a year in the fall and spring semesters.