CWL planning to use tech!

I was very excited this week to receive notice about a survey on which features I might like to see included in a proposed CWL phone app. I avoided joining the CWL for many years because of the perception that they just do coffee & cookies after mass. However, as I get older I am feeling a call to leave a legacy behind me and maybe I can do something with and for the church.

Well, it seems my perceptions are a little outdated! Checking the CWL site, I found their purpose aligns more with mine than I could imagine: the CWL today is an organization who “promote awareness and respond to political and social issues that affect all Canadians“. I can do that…

If you are a CWL member or a woman thinking of participating in some sort of action for social or political change, check us out (yes, I became a member last month!).

AND please consider taking part in this survey seeking desirable features for a new CWL phone app!

Inclusion Research Opportunity

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I just heard from my contacts at ACEC-BC about opportunities to participate in inclusion research with the University British Columbia. Here’s what I received today:

Please share these opportunities with anyone in your organization and networks who may be interested in participating.

Project RISE: Inclusive Innovation Research Project Rise banner

Project RISE invites you and a research partner to take part in an innovative, federally funded gender equality research project on advancing inclusion in the workplace. In volunteering to participate in the virtual study, you will learn evidence-based strategies for promoting a culture of inclusion for all people working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. For more details about time commitment, data privacy, and participants’ rights, please see the consent form in the sign-up survey (Volunteer Sign-Up) or the FAQ (Link).

In addition to seeking volunteers for the scheduled workshop pair, the Project RISE team is also seeking additional organizational partners to participate in the (free of charge) virtual study. If your organization is interested in participating or if you would like to recommend an organization to participate, we would appreciate hearing from you! Please email rise@psych.ubc.ca.

UBC Research: Immigrants’ Professional Impacts in the Engineering Profession Immigrants' Professional Impacts research

UBC is looking for individuals to participate in a research project looking at the impacts on the profession of immigrant engineers.  They are looking for immigrant engineers who have contributed to significant changes in a number of areas within the profession including policy change, managerial practices, innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional education.  Attached is a document with more information.

Regional Engagements Sessions for Indigenous Leadership in Technology: Understanding Access and Opportunities in BCRegional Engagements Sessions for Indigenous Leadership in Technology: Understanding Access and Opportunities in BC banner

The First Nations Technology Council, in partnership with the Information and Communications Technology Council and Reciprocal Consulting is working on a first-of-its-kind project, called “Indigenous Leadership in Technology: Understanding Access and Opportunities in BC.” Through research and engagement with Indigenous peoples and communities, and technology and technology-enabled industry employers, we are seeking to increase Indigenous participation in technology and innovation and better understand the actions, resources, and supports that are needed for Indigenous peoples and communities to gain access to, and maximize opportunities in, the digital age. A number of virtual regional engagement sessions are scheduled to be held over fall 2021 to workshop topics and themes that have emerged from our research. For more information visit: www.technologycouncil.ca/ILIT

Inclusive presentations made easy-ish

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When I created my first major presentation (for an undergraduate thesis defence), I recall the four practices the profs told us to consider:

  1. Language: know my audience and their basic level of knowledge about my topic
  2. Respect: dress well and make eye contact with the audience
  3. Voice: speak from point form notes, look up
  4. Focus: keep clothing pockets empty, so I don’t inadvertently rattle stuff in my nervousness and distract the audience from listening to me

These four practices hold today. 

In every engineering class I teach, I require at least four informal and one formal presentation. Engineers are notorious for having poor communication skills, yet we constantly present knowledge, research and development to each other and to our clients. I believe the challenge is not poor communication, rather is truly knowing our audiences.

I chatted with Marcie Cochrane, P.Eng., Advance Principle Consulting Inc., about recent work she has done with clients to explore inclusive presentation best practices. She provided me with some recommendations for inclusive presentations:

  1. Common knowledge: provide basic definitions to make sure everyone understands the abbreviations you use
  2. Land acknowledgement: recognize the land on which you live and work (see Engineers Canada’s guide, for example: https://engineerscanada.ca/sites/default/files/diversity/land-acknowledgements-guide.pdf).
  3. Intersectionality: consider diverse viewpoints and perspectives; find diversity in examples, images and media — take the time to find examples of female, BIPOC (https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-bipoc.html) and other individuals in addition to white male individuals.
  4. Language: use gender neutral terms (but don’t make a big deal of it)
  5. Interactivity: ask your audience questions to engage them in the discussion, especially focusing on diverse perspectives. As an example, Marcie says that ”if [you are] discussing a transit station design, think about diverse age groups and how they have different needs/uses.”
  6. Authenticity: consider your own lived experience and share a story that demonstrates how you incorporated diverse perspectives in some way.
  7. Accessibility:ensure your presentation itself is accessible to people with diverse abilities, such as minimizing the use of text on your slides, maximizing the size of everything and ensuring you describe each slides’ content. This blog has some great tips: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/11/inclusive-design-accessible-presentations/ 
  8. Implicit Bias: evaluate your own implicit bias and assess how that may influence your content, your approach and your expectations of the participants’ ability to comprehend what you are saying. If unsure, test your implicit bias here, at Harvard’s Project Implicit: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Please reach out if you have any questions — or any other tips I can add to this list.

Cheers,
Katherina (she/her)

Pandemic

This is unreal, that every person around the entire world is isolating themselves, carefully trying to restrict their movement and the spread of COVID-19.

I caught a cold last week. Scared myself. I don’t know where I got it from — must have been during a trip to the pharmacy or the grocery store. I am very carefully staying away from people, so it’s hard to know. Maybe it was that fellow who pushed past me when I paused to give someone time to clear the aisle. Or maybe it was that woman who cut between me and the other shopper waiting in line for the pharmacist, keeping two metres between us.

It’s awful to have no control over my own safety when others refuse to practice social distancing.

On a positive note, having taught online for almost a decade and studied online even longer, I am well positioned to expand my virtual teaching repertoire to include my face-to-face classes. Looking forward to sharing my expertise with my colleagues.

Stay safe. Stay home if you can, but, more importantly, stay safe.

Remembering…

undefined I am saddened, today.

In 30 years, little has changed for women in non-traditional careers like engineering. Micro-aggressions, unintended biases and isolating actions continue in the workplace, even mine. These behaviours foster persisting cultures of intolerance, resisting change.

True, many women work with amazing colleagues in their departments or elsewhere in their organizations, colleagues who provide support, solace and safe havens in times of stress. That wasn’t enough 30 years ago when those 14 women were killed.

We must foster a culture of heart, where we promote inclusivity, tolerance and the willingness to step up and speak up when we witness inappropriate actions, language and behaviour.

Let’s make a difference today for tomorrow.

Presidential updates for 2019

To all of you to whom I said that being President would be just as much work as being Vice President: I was wrong.

The last half of 2018 was one of the busiest seasons I have experienced, about on par with writing my dissertation, which I am very grateful to have at last fully completed (convocation was last November). Coupled with my paying commitments teaching Mech410T at UBC during the summer and teaching a full-time load at Camosun College in the fall, Engineers and Geoscientists BC activities completely filled up my time: Professional Reliance Review meetings, Branch meetings, elections, the Annual General Meeting and conference, and then follow up meetings, presentations and promotional activities like photos and writing for the Nov/Dec edition of Innovation Magazine.

Everyone I am working with has been amazing: I am so very grateful that this President role brings me into contact with brilliant, courageous and forward-thinking professionals. I look forward to meeting our two new government appointed Councillors later this month and working with this new team to ensure the new Professional Governance Act provides regulators with the tools we need to best protect the public interest. Keep checking the egbc.ca website for Council updates.

I am also looking forward to connecting with our national colleagues in engineering and geoscience regulation. Already, I have trips booked through winter and spring to attend several of the provincial regulator AGMs and meetings of Engineers Canada and Geoscience Canada.

Should be a lot of fun!

Professional Reliance updates

From Engineers and Geoscientists BC, July 30, 2018 (view this online):

As many of you know, the BC Government has been engaged in a review of the professional reliance model in the natural resource sector. This process, and the reforms that are being recommended in government’s , could fundamentally reshape our professions and how they are governed.

These changes would impact all members, not just those who work in the natural resource sector. Continue reading

VP

Wow! I just noticed that I have not posted here since before the elections! Tells me how busy I have been with Engineers & Geoscientists BC Council, work and my dissertation.

With the new year as Vice President, I begin my Branch visits across the province, starting in two weeks. If you are a member of Engineers & Geoscientists BC and have a question about regulation or what Council is up to, come on out to one of the Branch meetings when I am there. I look forward to meeting as many members as possible over the next few months.

With the new term upon us at Camosun College, I look forward to setting up class tours in industry to consolidate our in-class learning. If you are an industry member working in the engineering community, let me know what strengths our grads currently have…and where we can help develop needed skills and knowledge. This week will be our team development sessions and review, so a great time to look forward.

I am developing a new course for UBC Mechanical Engineering this term, as well, and look forward to working with the academic team on this new online opportunity. All very secret, for now, but should be running this summer, if all goes as planned…

As to my dissertation, it is in progress and very close to completion (defence). I have a paper related to this work in progress for delivery in Utah later this year. I will add it to the list of publications when it is done.

Happy New Year!