MSUToday
Published: July 25, 2019

College of Engineering recognized for diversity and inclusion

Contact(s): Pat Mroczek

The American Society for Engineering Education, or ASEE, has listed the Michigan State University College of Engineering among the nation’s leaders in inclusive excellence. The designation earns MSU a Bronze Award– the highest level of recognition presented by the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program.

Gregory Washington, chair of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council, congratulated MSU for its demonstrated support for underrepresented groups in engineering and its action plan focused on continuous improvement. 

Washington said that two of MSU’s strengths are in its assessment of policies, cultures and climate, and its ability to reduce barriers by strengthening the K-12 or community college pipeline.

College of Engineering Dean Leo Kempel, said the recognition is a national acknowledgement of those who have been dedicated to this important effort.

“The college will continue to advocate for excellence through our outreach, partnerships, and proactive strategies to increase representation among faculty, staff and students,” Kempel said.

Kempel pledged to make diversity and inclusion a top priority, including goals in the college’s Strategic Plan. Yue Qi, associate dean for inclusion and diversity, said a lot of people have been working on diversity and inclusion goals, especially since Dean Kempel’s pledge in the college’s 2016 to 2021 Strategic Plan.

“There is a commitment throughout the college - across programs, departments and individuals,” Qi said. “People understand that our differences are a strength. We’ll continue to build broader awareness and support as we help our colleagues and students realize their full potential.”

A variety of outreach programs and strategies support inclusiveness, including Women in Engineering, Diversity Program Office, Sloan program for graduate students, ongoing strategies for faculty search, recruitment, and hiring processes, along with training opportunities to better understand and eliminate implicit bias. There is also a pipeline development strategy for graduate and postdoc fellows.

Qi said the current statistics on the college are encouraging, but need further improvement. Undergraduate women number around 22% and the domestic underrepresented minorities enrollment is nearing 20%. Among tenure-stream faculty, around 17% are women and 8% are in historically underrepresented groups.

“There is more work to do after this recognition,” Qi said. “Significant, measurable, and sustainable progress is needed for us to go to next levels such as silver and gold in the future.”

Yue Qi, associate dean for inclusion and diversity for the College of Engineering.