Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Fang Wang is looking to make MU classrooms more inclusive — and with her recent UM System Inclusive Teaching Award win, she’s on her way to achieving her goal.
Prior to earning her doctorate from the University of Missouri and joining the faculty, Wang worked as a senior device modeling and characterization engineer at Motorola, Inc. and Freescale Semicondutor, Inc., before transitioning into software engineering in research and development at Ansys, Inc. Now in her academic role at MU, Wang has turned her attention to creating curriculum that teaches inclusion.
With the help of her $1,000 prize, she partnered with Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Initiatives Tojan Rahhal to incorporate inclusive teaching practices into her Information Technology 2810 course.
Wang’s curriculum includes new reading materials, research and case studies.
“Using reading materials or cases from people who are experts in the field that represent an inclusive and diverse background, so that students may look up to them and consider that they can become someone like that,” she said. “[Another] thing we also want to do is have studies of real scenarios that happened in the industry.”
While Wang is still in the process of implementing her techniques, she’s excited about the impact — not only on her own classroom, but others as well.
“It’s important for example to help students from different backgrounds, make students feel welcome to the classes,” she continued. “I hope through the case studies and stories, they it will promote some ambition to the people that never thought about it.”
Wang herself was inspired by the award, and it’s ultimately what pushed her towards inclusive teaching.
“I think mostly it made me start to think about [diversity] more,” she said. “Before this award, the problem was kind of in the back of my mind. I never really had the trigger.”
Now that it’s become such a part of her role at MU, Wang hopes other professors will follow suit.
“It’s important, for example, to help students from different background and make students feel welcome to the classes. I hope students learn the technical stuff, but also they will have more thinking in a sense of diversity and inclusion,” she said. “I hope they know how to interact with people. When they go out into the working place or society, they will have interactions with different customers and people that have different backgrounds. So, if they have some consideration in school, hopefully that will bring some positive results in the future.”