21:44 PM

Beschorner receives Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum

Kurt Beschorner, associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, is typically recognized for studying footwear tribology and biomechanics, but this year he was awarded for making strides elsewhere— the classroom. 


Beschorner is one of six recipients of the Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum, which recognizes a faculty member’s efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) concepts into courses and curricula at Pitt. Sponsored by the University Center for Teaching and Learning , the award highlights excellence in creating a learning environment for students that recognizes diversity and is inclusive of all. 

Beschorner was recognized for integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into his course Statistics for Bioengineers. By implementing a two-lecture sequence on health equity, Beschorner strengthened bioengineering students’ ability to implement inclusive research design practices in future projects. 

“I wanted students to enhance their capacity to discuss definitions of sex, gender, race, and ethnicity in the context of biomedical research, explain the consequences of exclusions of groups and data aggregation, and execute strategies to identify disparities and interventions that advance health equity,” Beschorner said. 

Beschorner also curated interactive questions, a forum to discuss high-stress events, and untimed exams throughout the duration of the course. According to Beschorner, implementing a diverse bioengineering curriculum is essential for future bioengineers to think critically and inclusively about the communities they will serve in the future. 

“A lack of diversity in our profession can lead to biomedical engineering solutions that serve only a portion of the population and therefore can expand health inequities,” Beschorner said. “Creating inclusive learning environments also enables a more diverse workforce that is better equipped to create equitable solutions.” 

Outside of the classroom, Beschorner uses technical competency areas in biomechanics, tribology, understanding of human movement, and ergonomics to understand and prevent falling accidents in the Human Movement & Balance Laboratory (HMBL). His research has identified the link between shoe, floor, and ladder design and fall risk, and he’s currently helping food service workers choose the right shoes to prevent slip and fall accidents. 

“I feel incredibly honored to win his award,” Beschorner said. “Especially as I look at the other awardees from this year and from prior years, it’s really neat to be among them.”