Campus Progressives Target the Sciences with Divisive Identity Politics

Purdue engineering school reimagines discipline in terms of radical social justice agenda

If you thought that STEM studies were safe from the clutches of the radical brand of progressivism that permeates most universities’ social sciences courses, think again.

Purdue University has established its School of Engineering Education, seemingly designed to refocus the discipline from actual engineering to left-wing social justice ideology.

“The School of Engineering Education (ENE) envisions a more inclusive socially connected and scholarly engineering education. This implies that we radically rethink the boundaries of engineering and the purpose of engineering education,” the school’s website states.

“Our mission to transform engineering education based on scholarship and research rests on three pillars: Re-imagining engineering and engineering education, creating field-shaping knowledge, and empowering agents of change.”

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Eddie Zipperer, an assistant political science professor at Georgia Military College, says the program fits into the joint mission of progressivism to tear down western institutions and co-opt all academic subjects.

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“Progressivism is a Trojan horse ideology that destroys institutions from the inside, and higher education is the prime example,” Zipperer told LifeZette.

“English 101 was once a class where you learned to composition. They taught you how to take your thoughts and effectively articulate them on paper,” Zipperer said. “Now, they teach you what to think instead — how to find sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia everywhere.”

“In classrooms where students once read Shakespeare, now they complain about him as a dead, white guy,” he said. “Of course, this is not the case in every university, but it is the case in more and more universities each day.”

In an article titled “Social Engineering Rather than Actual Engineering” published by the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal, mechanical engineering professor Indrek Wichman criticized the move.

“[ENE Dean Dr. Donna] Riley’s purpose seems not to be how best to train new engineers but to let everyone know how bad engineers have been, how they continue to ‘oppress’ women and persons of color, how much we need ‘diverse perspectives,’ and how the ‘struggle’ continues to level all distinctions and differences in society,” Wichman wrote.

“Lest the reader believe I exaggerate, let him peruse a periodical called the Journal of Engineering Education, the Society for Engineering Education’s flagship journal,” Wichman continued. “In each number, readers find at least one article with a title such as ‘Diversifying the Engineering Workforce’ or ‘Understanding Student Difference.'”

Zipperer noted the administrators in charge are pushing an agenda driven by politics rather than learning.

“This engineering department has probably gone off-the-rails leftist, and whoever is behind the changes is probably working on a political agenda as opposed to a teaching-students-about-engineering agenda,” he said.

This indeed seems to be the case.

Riley identifies herself on Twitter as an “Engineering professor, social justice advocate, [and] Presbyqueerian.” Her “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,” she states in her biography on the Smith College website, where she used to teach.

“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; decentering Western civilization; and uncovering contributions of women and other underrepresented groups,” she writes.

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The obsession with identity politics, once confined mostly to the corridors of Literature and Social Sciences departments, now permeates nearly all areas of academia. Even a discipline as presumably dull and inoffensive as archiving has not been spared. As Campus Reform reported on Tuesday, at a recent weeklong archivists’ conference in Portland, Oregon, archivists attended a presentation on “Identifying and Dismantling White Supremacy in Archives.”

The panel called on archivists to “decenter whiteness by valuing materials produced by people of color and communities of color” and to “explicitly prioritize materials produced by people of color and communities of color.”

Zipperer said it is popular on campus to push far-left ideologies.

“Having leftist opinions is like street cred in many higher ed institutions,” Zipperer explained. “The general culture of higher education is not in any way a microcosm of our culture at large, but an island of ultra-progressivism.”

(photo credit, homepage image: Huw Williams)

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