Broadening the Engineering Canon

How Culturally Responsive Pedagogies Can Help Educate the Engineers of the Future

  • Bertrand Momo
  • Gordon Donald Hoople University of San Diego
  • Diana Chen
  • Joel Alejandro Mejia
  • Susan M Lord



Within engineering, Western, White, colonial knowledge has historically been privileged over other ways of knowing. Few engineering educators recognize the impact of ethnocentricity and masculinity of the engineering curriculum on our students. In this paper we argue for a new approach, one which seeks to create an engineering curriculum that recognizes the great diversity of cultural practices that exist in the world. We begin by reviewing key ideas from three pedagogies not typically incorporated in engineering education: Culturally Relevant/Responsive Pedagogy, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, and Indigenous Pedagogy. We then present our attempts to develop an engineering curricula informed by these practices. We describe interventions we have tried at two levels: modules within traditional engineering sciences and entirely new courses. We aim to convince readers that these pedagogies may be a key tool in changing the dominant discourse of engineering education, improving the experience for those students already here, and making it more welcoming to those who are not.