University initiatives recognised for their innovative work in improving diversity in engineering education.
Toulouse, 12 March 2020 – Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) have selected three finalists for the 7th annual Airbus GEDC Diversity Award. This global award recognises successful initiatives that inspire students from all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering.
Launched by Airbus in 2012, the long-term goal of the award is to increase diversity amongst engineering professionals globally, so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports.
An Award Committee of Airbus employees and GEDC members reviewed 48 entries from 18 countries and five continents, the highest number of entries in the history of the award. The committee deemed the quality of entries to be exceptionally high with 14 projects selected for the shortlist. Collectively, these projects have made engineering career paths more visible and more attainable to over 80,000 students worldwide.
The three finalist projects which were chosen for their innovative nature and results to date are:
The cross-campus capstone classroom unites Engineering, Dance and other faculty members to break down disciplinary barriers between students and work together to solve problems that require more than one disciplinary lens. In its first year, 74 students from 23 programmes and 8 faculties, including 23 engineering students, are involved. Teams research and design a sustainable solution to one of 11 social impact challenges set by companies, non-profits, start-ups, and government-linked organisations. This full-year capstone experience helps students recognise the value of their own disciplinary skills, learn how to work effectively across boundaries and understand that today’s problems require us to learn with each other and work together for a common purpose.
LGBT and gender bias, such as the idea that STEM studies and careers are only for men, is prevalent in society and in academia. The “Embracing Diversity” MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) helps students to understand the effects of discouragement and self-exclusion on female talent – with big repercussions in the world of work – and shares actions useful to motivate more girls to study STEM. It also reports, as best practices, the cases of organisations that promote inclusion to create a fertile, authentic work environment. The MOOC is hosted on Polimi Open Knowledge Platform, available for free to everyone. 2,000+ users have participated, with 900+ obtaining the certificate of attendance (over 60% completion).
In the UK, under 20% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female. The UK also has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe. The North East underperforms this national picture. Established in 2014, NUSTEM represents a radical rethink of university outreach. The initiative, built on robust research, provides sustained, collaborative, inclusive and career-informed interventions with young people from early years onwards, and with their influencers – their families and teachers. These interventions include careers-inspired curriculum-focussed workshops and simple, accessible tools such as ‘STEM Person of the Week’. NUSTEM now has long-term collaborations with 48 schools in areas of deprivation and has worked with 43,795 children and enabled a further 14,119 interactions with their families and teachers.
A representative from each project will present their initiative to a distinguished Jury at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France, later this year where the winning project will also be announced.
Notes to Editors
Airbus is a corporate member of the GEDC (Global Engineering Deans Council), a leading global organisation whose members are individuals responsible for setting the agenda for higher education in engineering in their countries and universities. http://www.gedcouncil.org/
What do we mean by Diversity?
Based on the American Society for Engineering Education definition, diversity is the inclusion of individuals that represent variations in gender, race, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, nationality and other non-visible differences resulting in an environment rich in intellectual variety and respect for the individual, and optimally suited to address the technological, business and societal needs of the future.
Find out more about the finalist and shortlisted projects here: https://www.airbus.com/diversityaward