ASEE Safe Zone workshops and Virtual Community of Practice to promote LGBTQ equality in engineering

Stephanie Farrell, Rocio C.Chavela Guerra, Alexandra Longo, Rossen Tsanov, Erin A. Cech, Tom J. Waidzunas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The results discussed in this paper are part of a transformative project that links diversity research with a faculty development initiative to promote LGBTQ equality in engineering. The aims of the project are to (1) identify aspects of engineering culture that present barriers to LGBTQ equality, (2) build knowledge and skills to disrupt discrimination and promote LGBTQ equality in engineering departments on college campuses and (3) to identify best practices for promoting LGBTQ equality in engineering. Safe Zone is a term commonly used in schools and workplaces to describe both a learning experience (workshops) as well as the individuals who have completed the training. Safe Zone workshops create a visible network of LGBTQ-affirming individuals who contribute to creating a positive and inclusive climate. While most Safe Zone initiatives are campus/workplace-wide, the workshops described in this paper were specifically designed for academic engineering departments. Over 270 engineering educators have attended the 20 Safe Zone workshops offered at the ASEE Annual Conference during 2014 and 2015. Evaluation results from these first two years indicated a clear call to expand the workshops and nurture the conversation about LGBTQ inclusion in engineering. To meet this need and to expand the impact of the workshops, a Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) was established through this project in 2015. The VCP redesigned the Level 1 workshops and developed Level 2 workshops with content in-formed by emerging research on LGBTQ inclusion in STEM. The redesigned workshops were launched online in spring 2016 and in person at the ASEE Annual Conference in 2016. This paper presents an update on the overall project and presents the evaluation results of the Safe Zone Level 2 workshops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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