Nation’s Engineering Deans Pledge Commitment to Diversity

August 4, 2015 - Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington is one of more than 100 deans of engineering institutions across the country who has signed a pledge committing to advancing inclusive entrepreneurship. The pledge was sent to President Obama and was included in the diversity initiative announced today at the first-ever White House Demo Day.

The American Society of Engineering Education has declared 2014-2015 as the Year of Action in Diversity. “In this letter, we have proposed specific actions that would provide women and other underrepresented demographic groups increased opportunity to pursue meaningful engineering careers,” explains Washington, who serves as vice chair of the ASEE.

The White House Demo Day event showcased more than 90 innovative startup founders from the nation's diverse set of entrepreneurs, who pitched their stories and products to the president.  The event also kicked off a new initiative to bring greater diversity to the tech world. The announcement included a number of programs and efforts across federal agencies as well as “new public- and private-sector commitments that promise to provide more Americans with the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas.”

In support of this effort the ASEE outlined four specific actions:

1.  Develop a Diversity Plan for our engineering programs with the help and input of national organizations such as NSBE, SHPE, NACME, GEM, SWE, AISES, WEPAN and the ASEE that would: articulate the definition and the vision of diversity and inclusiveness for the institution; assess its need or justification; provide a statement of priorities and goals; commit to equity, implicit bias and inclusion training across the school; define accountability; and the means of assessing the plan through various means including surveys.

2.  Commit to at least one K-12 or community college pipeline activity with explicit targeted goals and measures of accountability aimed at increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of the engineering student body in our institution.

3.  Commit to developing strong partnerships between research-intensive engineering schools and non-Ph.D. granting engineering schools serving populations underrepresented in engineering.

4.  Commit to the development and implementation of proactive strategies to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our faculty.

For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/demo-day.

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