Diversity & Inclusion

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The UD College of Engineering is committed to broadening participation and fostering inclusion among its students, faculty, and staff. A more diverse and inclusive College supports academic excellence by expanding the talent pool we draw from, facilitating creativity and innovation, and helping us better serve a diverse society. To achieve this goal, we seek to identify and break down barriers that have systematically, though often unintentionally, inhibited full participation by all. We have a broad-based effort underway, with more than 40 faculty, staff, students actively and meaningfully engaged through four working groups focused on faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and staff, respectively. Suggestions and questions are welcome. Please contact the appropriate group leader.

Rachel Davidson
Chief Diversity Advocate


No one person or group can achieve inclusive excellence alone. The challenges require ideas, energy, and commitment from all members of the community.

Leadership for Working Groups

Faculty: Rachel Davidson

Graduate Students: Professor Michael Santare and Louise Bank

Undergraduate Students: Professor Jenni Buckley and Professor Sarah Rooney

Staff: Deirdre Martin and Nicole Murphy

University-Level Partners

Organizational chart showing the reporting structure for the Chief Diversity Officer, Committees and Working Groups

Department-Level Partners

Each Department has numerous diversity and inclusion activities as well. Leaders of those groups are:


Dept Biomedical Chemical & Biomolecular Civil & Environmental Computer & Information Sciences Electrical & Computer Material Science Mechanical
Representative Prof. Sarah Rooney Prof. Eric Furst Prof. Jennie Saxe Prof. Cory Bart Prof. Hui Fang Prof. Robert Opila Prof. Heather Doty

Our Approach

Guiding Principles

  • Engage. The challenges we face require ideas, energy, and buy-in from as many members of the College community as possible. We seek to engage everyone at the level of commitment they can offer.
  • Divide and coordinate. By partitioning responsibility among the four groups and empowering each to define the challenges and propose solutions, we establish accountability and allow each group to focus on a more manageable task. Coordinating among the four groups, with everyday College operations and with the Vice Provost for Diversity, UD ADVANCE, and others at the university level, we ensure the groups’ efforts are aligned and efficient.
  • Be strategic. Our approach is data and research driven, systematic and analytical, setting goals, targeting interventions, and assessing progress to be as effective and efficient as possible.
  • Integrate. Rather than operating as a separate stream of activities, diversity and inclusion must be an integral part of normal College operations – recruiting, advising, and teaching students; recruiting and supporting faculty and staff. This is the only way to get to the source, rather than symptom, of some issues, and to ensure that changes are institutionalized and sustainable.
  • Communicate. We seek transparency and openness for diversity and inclusion efforts so that we can uncover and include as many good ideas as possible, engage as many community members as possible, and ultimately take advantage of momentum from early successes to facilitate later ones.

Programs and Groups

The College of Engineering seeks to recruit and retain students, faculty, and staff through the implementation of programs to assist in the achievement of academic, career and personal goals.

Pre-college Students

Other university pre-college programs: https://www.udel.edu/apply/undergraduate-admissions/precollege-programs/ 


  • Resources to Inspire Successful Engineers (RISE) – Program to recruit and support success among the undergraduate students from underrepresented groups
  • McNair Scholars – Federally funded program to help prepare low-income, first-generation college students and students from underrepresented groups for graduate study

Student Organizations

COE Student Group Funding

This mechanism is partially funded through a generous donation from JP Morgan Chase.

Graduate Students

  • Women In Engineering – Group of women engineering graduate students supported by the Dean’s office to help promote the participation and success of women in engineering.
  • Association for Computing Machinery – Women (ACM-W) Also known as CISters. A group of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty that support women in technology-driven fields at UD.
  • GEM – Fellowship program that offers opportunities for underrepresented minority students to obtain M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering through a program of paid summer internships and graduate financial assistance.
  • Bridge to the Doctorate – Funding and programming to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who pursue and complete graduate study in STEM.
  • Graduate Student Advising Resources
  • COE EmPOWER – A student-led peer mentoring initiative for graduate students.
  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) –  Attend webinars, workshops, or multi-week courses. Or sign up for weekly emails with helpful tips on how to be an effective faculty member. UD has an institutional membership, so it is free for all faculty to join. Just go to the website and click join!


K-12 Teachers


To assess progress towards our goals, evaluate interventions, and identify both successes and areas requiring more attention, we are regularly monitoring (1) the demographic makeup of the faculty, students, and staff in the College of Engineering and (2) the climate within the College.

Demographic Data

Demographic data are updated each fall. They include both data on absolute numbers of faculty, students, and staff, as well as comparisons to our peer institutions on these metrics.

Additional demographic data is available for the University of Delaware as a whole through the Institutional Research Office: UD Data on Diversity.

Focus group studies

In collaboration with the UD Center for Research in Education and Social Policy (CRESP), we conducted focus group studies of College of Engineering undergraduates (2017), graduate students (2018), and staff (2018). The aims of the focus group studies were to:

  • Examine perceptions of diversity and inclusion among the students and staff in the College
  • Identify strengths, areas in need of improvement, and differences in perceptions between majority and underrepresented groups
  • Provide the foundation for development of climate survey instruments to be deployed periodically in the future to track progress

Summaries of the studies are available here:

Climate surveys

Surveys developed based on the focus group results will be deployed for undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff every two years to assess the climate in the College. Perceptions of the faculty will be captured using the UD ADVANCE climate survey.

Recent Highlights

Epps Named ACS Fellow

Epps Named ACS Fellow

UD Engineering Prof. Thomas Epps selected for American Chemical Society 2021 Class of Fellows.


Celebrating Women Engineers


The University of Delaware is committed to the success of women in engineering. Here are just a few of the women who set the course for the engineers of today and tomorrow.