Why We Do, What We Do
James Holly, Jr., PhD
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan
I am an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and core faculty member within the Engineering Education Research program at the University of Michigan. I simply seek to amplify Black intellect within engineering contributions and call out the anti-Black harm that pervades engineering. Recently, I had the honor of giving a Distinguished Lecture for the Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American Society for Engineering Education’s 2022 Annual Conference. As we stated this event was held in Minneapolis, and the only engagement with the catastrophe that catalyzed a global uprising just two years prior was a wall for posting sticky notes about what it felt like to be in Minneapolis two years later. Of course this wall, like many efforts of racial sympathy, was unregulated, so a few conference attendees felt free to express their bigotry by suggesting George was a criminal and that the city has deteriorated. This exhibition of benign neglect was just another sobering reminder of the dissociation of engineering from society, and this writing was borne out of that frustration. So on this day, I am recharged to pursue liberty in engineering study and practice.
Brooke Coley, PhD
Assistant Professor, Engineering
Arizona State University
I am an Assistant Professor of Engineering and core faculty member in the Engineering Education and Systems Design Doctoral Program at The Polytechnic School of Arizona State University. I am also the Founder and Director of the Center for Research Advancing Racial Equity, Justice and SocioTechnical Innovation Centered in Engineering (RARE JUSTICE). I write this plea to our community as a scholar - activist - victim - engineer (SAVE). The striking parallels between this “glorious anniversary” celebrated by our country and engineering’s practice of deciding what knowledge is valued and by whom, whilst the pains and trauma of generations go without consideration or address, are especially brutal. Having been a competitive athlete all of my life, I am especially drawn to the metaphor of medals - gold, silver and bronze, to be exact, in the context of a champion. For me, each is associated as an outcome of commitment, heart and execution. Yet, the engineering ecosystem continues to ideate and create rewards and recognitions benefitting whiteness while the proven accomplishments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, minority serving institutions and individuals go unnoticed, underrecognized and/or underresourced. Neither my athletic or engineering identities enable me to fathom this as coincidence, but rather exemplary of the explicit rules of a realm that was never designed for my inclusion.