The College of Engineering and Applied Science demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through the various actions and initiatives occurring within departments, programs, and units. During AY 2020-21, the college identified specific goals and actions to contribute to the campus wide IDEA Plan. Departments, programs, and units created assessment plans and have been implementing various tactics to make progress towards diversity, equity, and inclusion goals during AY 2021-22. In preparation of year three, each department, program, and unit will develop and submit an Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan Progress Report to the director of inclusive culture, by May 16, 2022.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Audit
The ChBE department has a DEI committee that consists of faculty of all levels as well as staff and the department chair. The departmental DEI committee works closely with the Graduate Leadership Committee (GLC) DEI committee, which is comprised of graduate students in the department. Combined, the faculty and staff led DEI committee and the GLC DEI committee have organized several events, including DEI-themed coffee hours and faculty workshops on unconscious bias, hiring, and cultural competence. The faculty also held a DEI-focused mini-retreat last year with the goal of identifying DEI issues within the department and laying the groundwork for action items to improve the overall department culture.
College and Campus Partners
The department has engaged with various partners across the college and campus to promote DEI initiatives and host DEI-related events. For example, in organizing a PRIDE-themed DEI coffee hour, the department worked closely with the Center for Inclusion and Social Change. Additionally, the department partnered with several offices, including OIEC and the Center for Teaching and Learning, in organizing DEI training workshops for faculty. Moving forward, we hope to engage additional partners, including the Renewable & Sustainable Energy Institute with which we’ve already initiated discussions with about partnering on DEI issues such as establishing relationships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Assessment Plan Progress
|Goal/Outcome||Tactics/Actions Taken||Assessment Method(s)|
Develop a process to analyze existing climate/culture data for trends and strategic planning
Create an Inclusive Graduate Recruiting Process
Given that we are still in the process of analyzing the data from the Campus Workplace and Culture survey, we do not have any key findings to report yet. However, the DEI committee is planning to present the results to the faculty and staff as part of an annual retreat on DEI issues in the department later this summer. Additionally, we have been analyzing the results of our graduate recruiting efforts this year to understand how the changes to recruiting impacted our DEI numbers. Although we had fewer applications this year, the fraction of female applicants was significantly higher than previous six years. Furthermore, we had over 16,500 views of our advertisement through NOBCChE, which provided significantly visibility for our graduate program among diverse applicants.
Lessons Learned & Next Steps
As the outcomes from the actions taken become clearer, we will define next steps that target specific issues that remain problematic. The details of these steps will be defined through our department’s annual faculty DEI retreat as well as a series of DEI committee meetings. We will further use these outcomes to update our DEI strategic plan with clear goals and methods for assessing these goals.
Campus Culture Survey Strategy
As highlighted above, the faculty and staff led DEI committee together with the GLC DEI committee are putting together a comprehensive summary of the results from the survey. The summary will be presented to the rest of the faculty at a DEI-focused mini-retreat later this summer. We will also share the summary with the graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduate students in the department to ensure transparency of the findings either through a town hall or newsletter update.
Alignment to Campus DEI Goals
For the 2022-23 academic year, we will continue to prioritize understanding the gaps that must be addressed to improve community building and cultural competence in the department. As part of this overarching goal, we will continue to seek ways to improve the diversity of our graduate program through increasing the recruiting and retention of students from underserved groups. While increasing diversity, we will further identify ways to continue to build community both in our graduate program and department more broadly, which closely aligns with one of the major goals in the IDEA Plan. We also plan to place an increased focus on student achievement outcomes. We recently worked with the college to obtain and discuss student success in our courses and noted concerning gaps in success within certain courses for students of color. Our faculty discussed those gaps at a recent faculty meeting and identified potential action items to be pursued to address gaps (such as developing intensive “second-chance” courses at key points in the curriculum). These action items will be further discussed at the mini-retreat later this year.
Authors of Report
The following personnel contributed to this report: