F9-TEAM4-1 - The POWER Workshop: Building Awareness of Power and Privilege on Intersectional TeamsPanels / Special Sessions
1 Arizona State University
2 University of New Mexico
3 Oregon State University
Motivation: We (the facilitators) all came together after working as social scientists and engineering education researchers on the NSF-supported program, Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17501/nsf17501.htm). We began to notice how power and privilege were enacted on our teams that consisted of diverse team members (e.g., diverse in disciplinary affiliation, role in the university, gender, race, LGBTQIA+ status). This motivated a research project and workshops such as the one proposed here, where we explore how power and privilege are enacted within interdisciplinary teams so that we can begin to dismantle systemic oppressions within academia. The POWER workshop (Privilege and Oppression: Working for Equitable Recourse) was developed to guide engineering educators to identify and understand the intersectional nature of power and privilege before planning strategies to disrupt, disarm, and dismantle it.
Goals of the Session: In this POWER workshop, we will engage attendees in a protocol in which they will examine intersectionality, power, and privilege within teams so that they can begin to understand ways that systemic oppression may be influencing their team dynamics. We will frame the session around the following question: How can we become aware of power and privilege on collaborative academic teams in order to better affect social change and eventually create more inclusive teams? After engaging in the session, attendees will be able to:
- Identify intersectional isms that produce boundaries and power differentials on transdisciplinary teams;
- Evaluate the impacts intersectional isms may have on such teams;
- Develop strategies for surmounting, managing, and mitigating boundaries and power differentials;
- Collaborate more effectively across boundaries, including disciplinary boundaries, identity differences, and power imbalances; and
- Guide their own teams using the provided protocol.
Novelty of Session: This workshop is novel in four distinct ways:
- Framing participants as agents of change: This includes a set of ground rules and framing workshop attendees as change agents.
- Using critical theory to frame the POWER workshop: Instead of focusing exclusively at the individual level, we are integrating a discussion of systemic inequalities/ higher level power imbalances that may give rise to some of these team dynamics.
- Creating intersectionality wheels in the session to help attendees consider diverse power imbalances that may be present on team (e.g., tenurism, rankism, engineeringism, ableism, racism, sexism)
- Providing a facilitation guide and protocol to participants so that they can revise and run a similar workshop in their own institutions.
Session Agenda: We will begin with an introduction that will encourage inclusive behavior during the session (10 minutes). The session will be framed around three activities as described below:
Activity 1: Screenplay and Intersectionality Wheel (25 minutes).
- Read through a provided screenplay of a transdisciplinary academic team, with volunteer actors reading the screenplay and a facilitator acting as narrator.
- Work collaboratively at tables to create an intersectionality wheel that represents some of the intersections within the scenario that may lead to power imbalances on the team.
- Report out.
- Challenge attendees to identify a specific experience from one of their trans/interdisciplinary teams.
- Work individually to create an intersectionality wheel with privileged/oppressed identities and labeling the power line with an ism (e.g., racism or tenurism).
- Share intersectionality wheels at tables and report out.
- Provide each attendee with a team change wild card that includes a detailed description of a new member who joins their team.
- Attendees place this person on the intersectionality wheel.
- Attendees consider ways that the team could react to the new team member that may limit the new member’s meaningful participation.
- Attendees act as change agents and create strategies that they could enact to help mitigate potential issues, including division of labor.
- Attendees fill out the provided strategies table that includes ideas from the two bullet points above.
Future Work: After engaging in this session, we hope that attendees will begin to approach transdisciplinary teams differently with an understanding of the intersecting identities of people within their teams alongside the power imbalances and structural inequalities. We invite attendees to join us in our work to begin to identify and dismantle systemic oppressions found in engineering education and academia more broadly.