DEI Narratives of Manufacturing Work in CoE Manufacturing Courses to Broaden Participation

Manufacturing is a creative field that has tremendous social impacts. Yet, stereotypes based on past decline of the manufacturing industry and the ways manufacturing is taught and advertised often do not highlight these aspects (The Manufacturing Institute, 2017). Narrow conceptions of manufacturing may alienate exactly those students, often women and minority students, who enter engineering programs to develop innovative solutions to improve people’s lives. In UM’s Mechanical Engineering department, female students make up 25% of the undergraduate population, and black (3%) and hispanic students (9%) fewer than 13%. Advancing education and research in manufacturing is a key strategic initiative at the college level (e.g., COE recently approved a $4.45-5.25 million improvement to the 1100 Dow Manufacturing Lab) and promoting equity requires that we encourage broad participation as this revitalized field receives more attention and resources.

Our goal is to assess and develop pathways that broaden the diversity of participation of engineers through the COE manufacturing courses (the pipeline to the manufacturing sector) by providing insight on current minority manufacturing professionals’ experiences as well as clearer messaging about manufacturing skillsets, including that manufacturing work covers both social impact assessment and creativity. To achieve this goal our objective is to collect interview data from manufacturing professionals that we will use to create three detailed DEI narratives that we will incorporate into engineering courses.

Project Team

Daniel Cooper
Mechanical Engineering

Sarah Crane
Economic Growth Institute

Shanna Daly
Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Education Research

Miguel Funes
Mechanical Engineering

Albert Shih
Mechanical Engineering


This team received $ 43,250 in funding in Winter 2023.