Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Conference Name

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


This is a work in progress paper that focuses on one aspect of Rowan University’s multi-pronged efforts to increase the diversity within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Diversity in this case extends beyond the traditional racial, ethnic, and sex diversity to embrace diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status among other non-visible elements of diversity. One way to increase diversity within the program is to develop an inclusive curriculum that allows students to engage actively and intentionally with diversity in ways that increase content knowledge, cognitive sophistication and empathic understanding. This work is framed in constructivist learning theory and critical pedagogy which have implications for inclusive curricula and instructional practice. Constructivist learning theory considers learning as an active process in which the learner builds conceptual understanding utilizing prior knowledge and experience and reflecting on those experiences. Critical pedagogy promotes education as a practice of freedom that builds a partnership between teachers and learners, recognizes connections between individual experiences and context, and empowers learners to consider problems that relate to their own lives in order to pose new challenges and build new understanding. This paper describes the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s efforts to adopt inclusive pedagogy and curricular content across several courses in the curriculum.


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