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College of Engineering News

Ways to get involved and make a difference

We realize that many of you, like us, are working to understand, process and react to the recent murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and others, and to determine how to support the Black Lives Matter protests occurring across the nation. We applaud the new and renewed interest among many to help to be part of the solution. This will be a long process that will require sustained attention and activities along many dimensions. We can all play important roles.

As a starting point, we begin by providing background on what the College has done recently – and continues to do – to address issues of racial injustice as well as diversity and inclusion more generally. We also offer ways you might consider joining the effort to make progress on this important issue. As always, we encourage ideas for improvement and open, honest discussion that can help move our community forward.

Prof. Rachel Davidson
Chief Diversity Advocate for the College of Engineering

Prof. Jenni Buckley and Prof. Sarah Rooney
Co-Chairs, Working Group on undergraduate diversity and inclusion

Prof. Michael Santare and Louise Bank
Co-Chairs, Working Group on graduate student diversity and inclusion

Deirdre Martin
Chair, Working Group on staff diversity and inclusion

WHAT IS THE COLLEGE DOING TO ADDRESS DISPARITIES?

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.

Selected actions within the College to promote diversity and inclusion over the last four years:

General

  • Working groups. Working in four groups since 2016, to address diversity and inclusion for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff (see COE D&I website)
  • Strategic plan. Implementing the 2017 research- and data-driven strategic plan. It was updated in 2019. (see COE D&I website)
  • Data collection and tracking. Implemented systematic, regular data collection, focus groups, surveys, and reporting for each group in the college—undergrads, grads, faculty, staff. The aim is to track demographics and climate, identify problems, and evaluate previous actions taken (see COE D&I website, Data section)
  • Diversity and inclusion award. A new annual $1500 College award, open to all members of the community was just approved to recognize sustained commitment to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the College, University, and/or community at large

Undergraduates

  • Inclusive teaching. Developed and implemented with the engineering faculty a six-module series on inclusive teaching.
  • Student group funding. Funding mechanism for student groups to support affinity groups and encourage interactions among groups (see COE D&I website)
  • #Hengineer campaign. Designed appealing campaign for local high schools, disseminated by students. Raising the College’s visibility in area high schools. (link)
  • Strategic partnerships. Developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local and national organizations and colleges to facilitate outreach and recruitment efforts.
  • Resources to Inspire Successful Engineers (RISE). Conducted a formal program evaluation, and now working to implement updates.
  • Scholarships. Working to create more scholarships to support students from underrepresented groups.

Graduate Students

  • Peer mentoring. Expanded the EmPower graduate student peer mentoring program to the entire College of Engineering (link)
  • Advising resources. Developed and disseminated tools to promote best practices in graduate student advising (link).
  • Scholarships. Working to create more scholarships to support students from underrepresented groups.
  • Coordination with new Graduate College staff and resources. Shared graduate student diversity events and resource planning is underway for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Faculty

  • Search committee workshops. For a decade, all members of faculty search committees have been participating in workshops run by UD ADVANCE to minimize implicit biases and promote best practices in support of fair hiring (link)
  • Discussions about race. Every other week informal discussions about racism this summer (see below).
  • Faculty mentoring. Workshops to support professional development for faculty.

Staff

  • Discussions. Held discussions and workshops to promote discussion about diversity and inclusion.
  • Hiring. Expanded advertising for staff positions to broaden the diversity of candidate pools

WHAT CAN MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE COMMUNITY DO TO HELP NOW?