Vol. 52 No. 4 (2022): Special Issue 52(4) 2022-2023
Special Issue: The Perspectives of Traditionally Underrepresented Students

From Diversity to Inclusion: Centring the Voices of Undergraduate Engineering Students

Cori Hanson
University of Toronto

Published 2023-02-22


  • inclusion,
  • diversity,
  • intersectionality,
  • undergraduate engineering education,
  • student experience

How to Cite

Hanson, C. (2023). From Diversity to Inclusion: Centring the Voices of Undergraduate Engineering Students. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 52(4), 15–26. https://doi.org/10.47678/cjhe.vi0.189787


Some Canadian undergraduate engineering programs report 30–40% of enrolled students are women. Kanter’s tipping point theory argues that women become less tokenized when they make up 30% of a group’s population. Other scholars have found that in comparable situations, women continued to experience discrimination, hostility, and competition. This critical study provides further evidence against a tipping point for equity by centring the experiences of traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students studying at a faculty of engineering with 35% women undergraduates enrolled. Reflective thematic analysis of experiences shared by
women, racialized students, 2SLGBTQ+ students, and students from lower socio-economic statuses found instances of discrimination, varying perceptions of capabilities, and inequitable access to support, community, and on-campus leadership roles. Therefore, institutions need to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of students and work toward changing campus culture in addition to diversity efforts.


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