2021 CoNECD

Using Power, Privilege, and Intersectionality to Understand, Disrupt, and Dismantle Oppressive Structures within Academia: A Design Case

Presented at CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 7 Technical Session 3

Many of us are working to create a more inclusive and socially just culture within engineering education and engineering. Despite significant effort, marginalization and discrimination continue, buoyed by systems of oppression. How can we disrupt and dismantle oppressive systems in engineering education? In our work, we explore how power and privilege are enacted within leadership teams that aim to create revolutionary changes within engineering departments. Based on this work, we developed the POWER protocol (Privilege and Oppression: Working for Equitable Recourse), a workshop that guides engineering educators to identify and understand the intersectional nature of power and privilege before planning strategies to disrupt, disarm, and dismantle it. In this paper, we present a design case to show how this workshop has evolved. We provide the POWER protocol in the appendix so that others can adapt this workshop for their own contexts.

In the interactive session at CoNECD, we will take attendees through part of the POWER protocol (we will scope the workshop to fit in the time allotted; the full workshop is 1.5 hours) to examine how power, privilege, and intersectionality can help attendees frame their experiences and begin to understand how their everyday experiences may be influenced by systemic oppression. To guide this process, we orient around the question: How can we become aware of power and privilege on collaborative academic teams in order to better affect social change and improve interdisciplinary and cross-identity/boundary interactions, communication, and inclusivity? We hope that through interactive sessions such as this that we can all become more persistent and sophisticated in our efforts to dismantle some of these forms of power and privilege within the university, especially those aspects that continue to oppress and oftentimes push marginalized people and perspectives out of academia. Our interactive approach will position attendees to bring this protocol back to their institutions and adapt it to their own contexts.

In the tradition of the design case such as those published by the International Journal of Designs for Learning, we detail how our contexts and the literature informed the iterative development of the POWER protocol in this paper. We provide a vivid account of the POWER protocol and a facilitation guide that others can use and adapt in their own contexts. Using a narrative format, we share a forthright account of our development process. Design cases are valuable in highlighting distinctive aspects of how a design came to be; by sharing our design decisions along with the design, others may gain insight into both what has made our design successful, and where it may be brittle when used in new contexts. Finally, we describe how we will engage attendees in the CoNECD session.

Authors
  1. Dr. Nadia N. Kellam Arizona State University [biography]
  2. Dr. Susannah C. Davis Oregon State University [biography]
  3. Susan Sajadi Arizona State University [biography]
  4. Jasmine Desiderio University of New Mexico [biography]
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