Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 2:45 PM - 3:30 PM CDT
The STEM pipeline can be a turbulent and lonely path for under-represented students, particularly those with disabilities. In spite of DEI efforts aimed at equitable access, disabled STEM professionals continue to be underrepresented in postsecondary degrees awarded and have higher unemployment and underemployment rates than their non-disabled colleagues (US Dept of Labor, 2023). Instructional Designers and Faculty play an important role in supporting disabled engineers and scientists through inclusive learning environments and access to accurate and accessible course content.
While mathematics is foundational to the engineering field, the focus of accessibility efforts is typically on the written word, overlooking the information conveyed in equations. We will examine the evolution of accessibility in the Engineering for Professionals Program at Johns Hopkins University where instructional designers and faculty collaborated to refine our approach to math-intense course development. We'll share lessons learned as we wrestled with the technical challenges of accessible equation creation, visual and spoken equation accuracy, and culture change among faculty.
Math accessibility continues to be a work in progress, but through a combination of cross-functional focus groups and faculty development, we are building a culture of inclusion and broadening access to STEM fields for engineering students. Ultimately, equitable and inclusive access to STEM courses, degrees, and careers benefits all of us as our graduates explore and solve issues in the engineering field and beyond.