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2023-2027 Strategic Plan

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Pillar 4 | Culture & diversity, equity, and inclusion

Commitment to strengthen the CEE community, one that advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for all people within the department, our partners, and the broader world.

Outcome 1 Outcome 2 Outcome 3 Outcome 4

About DEI

DEI shows up as both a dedicated pillar and a throughline throughout the entire CEE strategic plan. This is to ensure dedicated resourcing of DEI as a strategic pillar of our work, while also recognizing the need to embed a DEI framework across all that we do. In alignment with the College of Engineering’s DEI commitment and strategic plan, we strive to build a community where all members thrive.


Outcome 1

Increase diversity in CEE student body with regard to all social identities, including gender, race, socio-economic status and sexual orientation.

Key strategies

  • Document recruitment process/history for all funded graduate students.
  • Engage with the College of Engineering’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and other experts to create a plan for recruiting underrepresented minority (URM) students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges that includes dedicated scholarship/fellowship funds and allows for increased educational capacity within their communities.
  • Create guidance for prospective students on how to apply for graduate school beyond official application.
  • Execute URM student recruitment plan.
  • Initiate dedicated stipend/invited lecture program for DEI seminar series.
  • Launch a fundraising push to create an endowment to support recruitment and retention of URM students.

Outcome 2

Activities to advance DEI are recognized and valued within the department. For faculty and staff, DEI activities are reported in annual reviews as well as tenure (faculty) and promotion processes. For graduate student researchers, fellowships are provided to students who have strong records of DEI contributions.

Key strategies

  • Create guidance for examples of activities to be included in DEI annual activity reports.
  • Ensure training opportunities are available each year.
  • Identify recipients of DEI fellowships.

Outcome 3

Faculty and staff report in climate surveys that they feel engaged and connected to the department and their peers. There is an integrated and collaborative approach for building and maintaining the department's community, culture, and administration. Faculty participate in regular social events. Junior faculty report that they benefit from a well-established and high-quality mentoring program.

Key strategies

  • Create a climate survey and community engagement/social plan. 
  • Dedicate staff support (one full-time employee) for management of community events and DEI work.
  • Form an ad-hoc committee to establish mentoring best practices.

Outcome 4

Climate surveys demonstrate steadily improving progress so that students, across all social identities, feel CEE is a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment and community.

Key strategies

  • Establish affinity groups in collaboration with existing College of Engineering affinity groups as appropriate.
  • Develop recommendations for faculty DEI touchpoints in classes, as well as process for continuous updating and improvement.
  • Develop DEI training course for undergraduate/graduate students and evaluate annually.
  • Initiate annual climate survey and designate resources to analyze data annually.
  • Leverage the College of Engineering’s Office of Inclusive Excellence support.