Kindness in engineering education.
In light of the disruptions in higher education brought about by COVID responses, faculty were encouraged to be more accommodating of student issues. These edicts largely could be construed as showing kindness. But why should faculty kindness toward students only be manifested in the face of a global pandemic? Even before the pandemic there was a growing mental health crisis in higher education, just one driver of many to spur faculty to treat students with kindness. This paper explores issues of kindness in engineering and engineering education. What evidence is there that kindness is congruent or incongruent with engineering education? What is the value of considering kindness in comparison to the constructs of care, empathy, and compassion? The perspectives of a variety of scholars are synthesized in this analysis. This is followed by concrete examples of teaching and course practices that are emblematic of kindness, such as compassionate pedagogy. The author argues that kindness is appropriate to embody within engineering education, irrespective of externally obvious stressors like a global pandemic.