June 15, 2021
The CEE community is taking concrete actions toward creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable environment. To do so, the work of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee has accelerated in recent months, resulting in
“It’s important that the culture of the department be welcoming to all people, that’s core to our mission,” says professor Julian Marshall, who leads the JEDI Committee with associate professor Jessica Kaminsky.
Supporting and encouraging a diverse community is important for the future of engineering, says Marshall, as more diverse engineering teams lead to new ideas and solutions. It’s also important for
“While it used to be ok to stick to just the equations, there’s a broader recognition now that we are here to solve problems in society and we have to be aware of social contexts,” Marshall says.
With these overarching goals in mind, and with input from students, faculty and staff, the JEDI Committee has ushered through several initiatives, with more on the way. A few highlights are provided below.
In spring 2020, students petitioned the department for meaningful change, asking for immediate action to “ensure a safe and inclusive educational environment, particularly for Black students, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities and other represented groups.”
"The student petition triggered significant change in our department," Kaminsky says. "I hope the students who led it and signed it are proud of the positive impact their activism has had!"
In response to the petition, chair Laura Lowes organized a department-wide listening session in June 2020 to
Student advisory boards
To ensure that student voices are represented in various department matters, including diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, student advisory boards were formed in January 2021. Representatives from both the undergraduate and graduate student classes serve one-year terms, working as liaisons between students and CEE’s faculty and administrators.
In spring quarter,
Faculty and staff trainings
Formal JEDI trainings were offered
Construction is currently underway to provide more women’s and gender-neutral restrooms in More Hall, an older building that houses much of the department. The project is expected to be completed by autumn 2021, when the UW plans to reopen campus.