Immersion for inclusion: Virtual reality as a novel approach to developing faculty

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

This Work-in-Progress paper describes an exploration of the potential to position faculty to cultivate more inclusive engineering environments using virtual reality (VR) as a tool for development. The project's goal is to create a level of awareness among faculty of the marginalized experiences of people from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering-women, Blacks, Latinxs, persons with disabilities, veterans, persons identifying as LGBTQ+, first-generation college students and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds-as they navigate engineering environments. This work introduces a novel approach to changing the culture of engineering programs from within through a focus on faculty. Specifically, this work seeks to investigate whether immersive virtual reality (IVR) experiences can be utilized as a tool to develop more inclusive and empathetic mindsets among faculty. As faculty are gatekeepers to culture in engineering environments, having more inclusive-thinking faculty could contribute to a paradigm shift to create a change in culture in the absence of a critical mass of people from underrepresented groups. The research questions are focused on exploring whether such immersive experiences could be used to create levels of awareness powerful enough to shift attitudes, beliefs and behavior. Using virtual reality as a modality to provide immersive experiences for faculty demonstrates the timely use of a technology whose potential has not yet fully been realized. If successful in enhancing inclusive awareness of faculty, such immersive virtual experiences could have a transformative impact on faculty development, particularly as it relates to the role and responsibility of faculty in creating inclusive engineering environments. This work would benefit from presentation in a round table session that affords participants an opportunity to experience the virtual reality scenario followed by a brief dialogue inspired by the potential of IVR to evolve into a tool for faculty training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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