About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1037-1041
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0399

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

RAISING AWARENESS ON DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY IN STEM DEGREES IN HIGHER EDUCATION

M. Altimira, C. Casanueva

KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SWEDEN)
We live in a multicultural society, surrounded by people with different values, traditions, skills, etc. With increased diversity, a higher risk for inequality arises. As educators, we should make our best to turn diversity into an advantage and a source of innovation.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities. During 2015, KTH welcomed around a thousand exchange students, and just as many international Master’s students. The Master Program in Engineering Mechanics is one of the 60 Master’s programmes at KTH. It has nearly 40 registered students, out of which 14% are women. This is rather below the national average in STEM graduates, which is 32% women and 68% men.

The course Research Methodology in Engineering Mechanics is a compulsory part of the Master Program in Engineering Mechanics at KTH, and is also available for other programmes as free credits. The course’s main learning outcome is that the students become acquainted with the most common concepts and research methods used in the fields of Fundamental Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Acoustics and Biomechanics. This course poses a unique opportunity to engage the students to research in different areas through diversity-oriented learning activities, and between 50 and 60 students register every year. Besides an introductory session, the course consists of 8 lectures and a group project. In 7 of those lectures, researchers from KTH present their areas of expertise, introducing the most relevant methods applied. The additional lecture was traditionally devoted to research ethics. However, since the Master program has another course covering this topic, this year we decided to use that session to introduce a lecture on Diversity and Equality in the Research Environment. It should be noted that the ratio of female lecturers has been increased in the last two years from 25 to 57%.

In this lecture, we defined concepts as stereotype threat, homosociality, implicit discrimination, and unconscious bias. Scientists of different genders, cultures, religions, and sexual orientations were introduced. Studies on biased peer evaluation in academia and gender pay gap in Sweden were presented. The lecture finished with a discussion on how to recognize and acknowledge our unconscious biases and find ways to mitigate their impact in our behavior and decisions.

We decided to have said lecture in the middle of the course, and see whether it affected the evaluation of the lectures given by the students at the end of each session.

Our analysis on perception of equality by the students, as well as their own evaluations of the different lecturers, proves that including this lecture in the course is necessary, even though Sweden is one of the world’s countries with highest levels of equality.
@InProceedings{ALTIMIRA2017RAI,
author = {Altimira, M. and Casanueva, C.},
title = {RAISING AWARENESS ON DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY IN STEM DEGREES IN HIGHER EDUCATION},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.0399},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.0399},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {1037-1041}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Altimira AU - C. Casanueva
TI - RAISING AWARENESS ON DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY IN STEM DEGREES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.0399
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 1037
EP - 1041
ER -
M. Altimira, C. Casanueva (2017) RAISING AWARENESS ON DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY IN STEM DEGREES IN HIGHER EDUCATION, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 1037-1041.
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