Ohio State recognized for engineering diversity and inclusion initiatives

Posted: April 20, 2020

The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s expanding diversity and inclusion initiatives have received the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Diversity Recognition Program Bronze Award.

ASEE bronze medal image

ASEE launched the program in 2019 to publicly recognize engineering colleges that make significant, measurable progress in increasing the diversity, inclusion, and degree attainment outcomes of their programs. The Bronze Award is currently the highest level of recognition in the nascent program. It demonstrates that the College of Engineering has created and is implementing a diversity and inclusion action plan, has established infrastructure to support underrepresented populations, offers at least one initiative included in ASEE’s “proven practices” list, and holds at least one K-12 pipeline activity.

“A diverse and inclusive climate enriches the educational experience, fuels creativity, launches innovation, and helps develop the next generation of engineering leaders,” Dean David B. Williams said. “As a land-grant institution and an economic development engine, it is inherent upon us to encourage and empower anyone with a passion to change the world.”

Achieving Bronze Award status also required measurable outcomes related to faculty, staff and student demographics, as well assessing the educational and workplace climate. In 2019, 25% of undergraduates were women and 10% were underrepresented minorities (as defined by the National Science Foundation), up from 21% and 7% since 2014, respectively. Graduate student enrollment in 2019 consisted of 26% women and 6% underrepresented minorities, up from 25% and 4%, respectively. Tenure track faculty diversity also has improved. In 2019, 26% of faculty were women and 6% were underrepresented minorities, up from 20% and 5% in 2015, respectively.

“We are thrilled with the recognition, and excited about the shift in culture and momentum we are building, yet we acknowledge that we can and must do better,” said Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Donnie Perkins. “The future of engineering depends on it.”

Perkins added that the college’s Office of Diversity, Outreach and Inclusion has introduced several new initiatives since 2017. For example, the Student Academic Success Program links students with resources and opportunities to support their academic and personal pursuits, while also helping them cultivate relationships among students with similar interests. Inclusive Teaching Workshops provide strategies to conduct and manage a classroom that values and engages all students in equitable and vibrant learning environments. And the new Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program encourages faculty, staff and students to increase their knowledge of and experiences with diversity, inclusion and equity by participating in a wide range of content, events and activities.