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Donna Riley

Associate Professor of Engineering

email Send E-mail office Office: 100 Green Street phone Phone: 585-7003

Donna Riley earned her B.S.E from Princeton University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

My scholarship currently focuses on applying liberative pedagogies in engineering education, leveraging best practices from women's studies and ethnic studies to engage students in creating a democratic classroom that encourages all voices. In 2005 I received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to support this work, which includes developing, implementing, and assessing curricular and pedagogical innovations based on liberative pedagogies and student input at Smith, and understanding how students at Smith conceptualize their identities as engineers. I seek as an engineering educator to be part of a paradigm shift that these pedagogies demand, repositioning concerns about diversity in science and engineering from superficial measures of equity as headcounts, to addressing justice and the genuine engagement of all students as core educational challenges.

I currently teach traditional courses in the areas of chemical and environmental engineering, as well as elective courses on engineering and global development, science, technology, and ethics (cross-listed with SWG) and technological risk assessment and communication. I seek to revise engineering curricula to be relevant to a fuller range of student experiences and career destinations, integrating concerns related to public policy, professional ethics and social responsibility; de-centering Western civilization; and uncovering contributions of women and other underrepresented groups.

In EGR 330 (Engineering and Global Development), we critically evaluate past and current trends in appropriate and sustainable technology. We examine how technology influences and is influenced by globalization, capitalism and colonialism, and the role technology plays in movements that counter these forces. Gender is a key thread running through the course in examining issues of water supply and quality, food production and energy.

In EGR 205 (Science, Technology and Ethics), we consider questions such as who decides how science and engineering are done, who can participate in the scientific enterprise and what problems are legitimately addressed within these disciplines and professions. We take up racist and colonialist projects in science, as well as the role of technology, culture and economic systems in the drive toward bigger, faster, cheaper and more automated production of goods. A course theme around technology and control provides for exploration of military, information, reproductive and environmental applications. Using readings from philosophy, science and technology studies, and feminist and postcolonial science studies, we explore these topics and encounter new models of science and engineering that are responsive to ethical concerns.

Selected Publications

Riley, D., Pawley, A., Tucker, J., and Catalano, G.D. "Feminisms in Engineering Education: Transformative Possibilities." National Women's Studies Association Journal, (August 2009).

Riley, D. Engineering and Social Justice. San Rafael, CA: Morgan and Claypool (2008).

Riley, D. and Sciarra, G.L. "'You're all a bunch of fucking feminists': Addressing the Perceived Conflict Between Gender and Professional Identities Using the Montreal Massacre." Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference, October 28–31, San Diego, CA (2006).

Riley, D. M., and Claris, L. "Power/Knowledge: Using Foucault to promote critical understandings of content and pedagogy in engineering thermodynamics." ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, June 18 - 21, Chicago, IL (2006).

Riley, D. and Armstrong, E. "Common Ground: How a course collaboration between engineering and women's studies produced fine art." ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, June 12-15, Portland, OR (2005).

Chesler, N. and Riley, D. "The Art of Engineering: Using fine arts to discuss the lives of women faculty in engineering." ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, June 20-23, Salt Lake City, Utah (2004).

Riley, D. "Employing Liberative Pedagogies in Engineering Education." Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 9(2): 137-158 (2003).

Riley, D. "Sex, Fear and Condescension on Campus: Cybercensorship at Carnegie Mellon University." Wired_Women: Gender and new realities in cyberspace. L. Cherney and E.R. Weise, eds. Seattle: Seal Press, 1996.