Federal Government Grants $300K To Make Engineering Classes ‘LGBTQ-Affirming’

Eric Owens | Editor

The National Science Foundation is granting almost $300,000 in taxpayer funds for a two-year “diversity research” study examining aspects of engineering culture that serve as “impediments” to increased numbers of gay, lesbian and transgender students.

The American Society for Engineering Education is managing the federally-funded research, reports Campus Reform. The study will run from now through June 2017.

The researchers hope to find ways to train engineering professors to become “LGBTQ-affirming.”

The acronym LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

An abstract at the National Science Foundation’s website explains that the $299,998 study “aligns with” the Foundation’s “goal to promote a more diverse engineering workforce by promoting” LGBTQ equality in engineering, a field which “has been underserved by other efforts to increase diversity in the profession.”

(The same information can be found here.)

The National Science Foundation abstract also declares that “engineering departments have proven more impervious to inclusive practices than other disciplines.”

The abstract does not speculate why professors who teach math- and hard-science-heavy engineering courses might be “impervious” to caring about the sexual proclivities of students.

In any case, “gradual positive change in campus climate for LGBTQ individuals” has failed to reach engineering departments, the federal document laments.

“Through face-to-face and online training coupled with an online community of practice, this project will build a network of LGBTQ-affirming faculty who are aware of strategies to foster an inclusive environment and are empowered to advance LGBTQ equality in their departments,” the grant abstract explains.

The primary recipient of the grant is Stephanie Farrell, a professor of chemical engineering at Rowan University, a low-tier public school in suburban New Jersey.

Farrell earned her Ph.D. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Daily Caller’s worst undergraduate college in America for 2015. (RELATED: The 35 WORST Colleges In America PERIOD When You Consider Absolutely Everything That Matters)

According to Rowan’s website, Farrell is a member of the school’s “Out and Ally Network.” She is “dedicated to promoting LGBTQ inclusion in engineering” and she has “pledged to stand against heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”

One of the co-recipients of the grant is Tom Waidzunas, notes Campus Reform. Waidzunas is a sociology professor at Temple University. He is affiliated with the public school’s women’s studies program.

On his Facebook page, Waidzunas likes ACT UP Philadelphia, Caitlyn Jenner, Gay Mens Health, Sexual Minorities Uganda, progressive economist Paul Krugman and, of course, Hillary Clinton. (He also likes a Facebook page called Teabonics, which is dedicated to criticizing “the hypocrisy of the GOP.”)

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