Social justice in control systems engineering

Kathryn Johnson, Jon A. Leydens, Barbara M. Moskal, Deborath Silva, Justin Stephen Fantasky

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


What occurs when social justice dimensions are integrated into a feedback control systems class, and what impacts does such integration have on student interest and motivation? Social justice defies a universal definition, but is related to the vision that people and communities have the right to equality (in various senses), to health, to dignity, and to opportunities. Social elements such as social justice may not be perceived as "engineering" by faculty and students, leading to an engineering workforce poorly trained in dealing with the social dimensions of sustainable engineering solutions. This important concept currently receives little attention within the standard engineering curricula, particularly within the engineering sciences. The pilot-study research presented in this article uses a mixed-methods approach to assess the state of social justice awareness of students as they enter an "Introduction to Feedback Control Systems" (IFCS) class. Social justice interventions are integrated to support students as they learn about the inherent, yet often invisible, connections between social justice and control systems engineering. Instruments, such as surveys and focus groups, were used to measure the impact of the social justice interventions. The results and findings from these analyses, considering both the section with interventions and a non-intervention section of the course, are reported here. This analysis supports that participants have had some exposure to social justice but struggle to place it within the context of technical engineering science core courses. However, the participants also provided feedback on specific mechanisms for integrating social justice dimensions within IFCS that are likely to promote future student learning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
Issue number122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for...
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015


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