Clark School Eng Ed Speaker: Woodrow Winchester, "Dismantling the New Jim Code"

Friday, February 26, 2021
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Online presentation--registration required

UMD Clark School Engineering Education Speaker Series, featuring Dr. Woodrow W. Winchester, III February 26, 2021 1-2pm Eastern Time

About this Event

Talk Abstract:

“…It is important that we understand and come to terms with this now; there are technological developments in the making that could permanently affect the destiny of black Americans, as Americans and as global citizens.” Technology Versus African-Americans (Anthony Walton, The Atlantic)

From recent controversies surrounding the implementation and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to studies finding pulse oximeters more error-prone in people with darker skin, the role and relevance of race and anti-Black racism in engineering design is clear. In her book Race After Technology, author Ruha Benjamin describes “the employment of new technologies that reflect and reproduce existing inequities but that are promoted and perceived as more objective or progressive than the discriminatory systems of a previous era.” She calls this phenomenon the “New Jim Code”. As the Academy can be considered ground zero for the dominant technological design and deployment paradigms, engineering education is complicit. Dismantling the New Jim Code requires new design perspectives and power paradigms. Black-Centered Design is needed.

Black-Centered Design represents a framework by which the diverse and nuanced complexities of Black identity can act as an ethos for creating more inclusive, equitable, and accountable technological solutions. This talk introduces Black-Centered Design and offers pedagogical and epistemological strategies such as Afrofuturism that afford an explicit foregrounding of Black lives and bodies in technological design. The engagement of this way of thinking and acting in engineering education clearly represents a cultural transformation and requires systemic change. This talk concludes with thoughts on barriers in implementation and possible countermeasures in enacting the needed philosophical and methodological changes.

Speaker Biography:

Woodrow W. Winchester, III, is currently the Director of Engineering Professional Programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Woodrow is a Certified Professional Engineering Management Professional (CPEM) with over ten (10) years of project engineering and management experiences. Woodrow is also the Director of Professional Development & Continuing Education for the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) and is a regular contributor to the ASEM Blog. Selected as a member of the second cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy, Woodrow is an advocate for more equitable, inclusive, and consequential approaches to technology design and deployment. As a thought leader, Woodrow has published works in influential practitioner-oriented publications such as INCOSE Insight Magazine, ACM Interactions, and Fast Company Magazine. View more by visiting his public LinkedIn profile.


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