Practicing Care in Global Engineering with Underserved Communities
2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings
Bhavna Hariharan is a Social Science Research Associate at the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. Her field of inquiry is Engineering Education Research (EER) with a focus on engineering design for and with underserved communities around the world. For the last nine years, she has worked on designing, implementing and managing environments for interdisciplinary, geographically distributed, collaborative research projects among
... jects among scholars, and with underserved communities. She is also a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department where she currently teaches a course Global Engineers' Education. Abstract This paper describes the inclusion of care as the central part of an undergraduate engineering course that brings together engineering students with underserved communities globally. It begins with a brief description of the course, its aims, and the unique approach it pioneers of students working with the community rather than for them. The class project focused on improving sanitation and hygiene problems in rural India was undertaken in groups of three. It then describes the challenges of ensuring participation of the students and the community as equal partners and how this was achieved by including practice of care as a central piece of the course. In addition to reading and discussing literature on care ethics, the students used these concepts to create individual "care statements" which guided the design process. The paper then describes a preliminary attempt at understanding student engineers' experiences of engaging with care as well as their evolving understanding of practicing care in engineering practice.