Engineering: Today & Tomorrow | Summer 2020

H istorically, engineering in the U.S. has been dominated by white and Asian males. While concerns about this lack of diversity have led to the creation of initiatives dedicated to attracting more women and minorities to STEM programs, these groups remain woefully underrepresented. To shed light on the different ways innovative engineering education leaders are making strides toward greater diversity, Liaison is now offering a free, on-demand webinar — Diversifying Engineering: On Campus and in the Workforce — featuring three women discussing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for their programs. During this session, Noha El-Ghobashy, vice president for strategic initiatives at the Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT) and former Executive Director of the Association of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Stephanie Adams, Ph.D., the first female and first African American dean of UT Dallas, and Rebecca Bates, Ph.D., professor of Computer Science and Integrated Engineering at Minnesota State University Mankato, all agree that increasing diversity in the engineering workforce starts with improving diversity on campuses. DIVERSIFYING ENGINEERING: ON CAMPUS AND IN THE WORKFORCE

Why diversity in engineering matters Adams pointed out that a limited number of minorities earn Ph.D.s in engineering each year, and that more than half seek employment outside academia. Since these candidates are in demand, they may have multiple job options available. Schools need to be more aggressive and move quickly to recruit faculty members from diverse backgrounds. “There’s a real void — we can’t use the same old practices to diversify faculty because the population isn’t there,” Adams said. Bates encouraged schools to think about creating spaces where people want to stay. “Consider the policies, rewards and training you’re offering graduate students who are often teaching undergraduates — they need to understand inherent bias and microaggressions. We have to think about how people are working together,” she said. In addition to developing more supportive environments for undergraduate students, Bates said, “we need to create spaces where graduate students could see spending the rest of their lives as a career.”

“ If we’re going to design solutions that successfully address problems faced by the over seven billion people living on this earth, we can’t have 84% of the engineering workforce represent only two demographic groups. Diverse perspectives are crucial not just in solving problems but in fully understanding them. ” Noha El-Ghobashy

To learn more about ways to attract more diverse engineering students to your graduate programs, watch the on-demand webinar, “Diversifying the Engineering Community.”

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Engineering: Today & Tomorrow | Summer 2020

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