U of T joins initiative to increase diversity in engineering
Commitment made at first White House Demo Day
The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has joined more than 90 North American engineering schools in a pledge to boost diversity in the student body, faculty and profession.
The commitment is expressed in a letter released by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) on the occasion of the first White House Demo Day, a gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs at which U.S. President Barack Obama made annoucements and met several exhibitors personally.
U of T was one of two Canadian universities included in the promise to recruit more women and underrepresented minorities and foster a culture of inclusivity in engineering.
“U of T Engineering is committed to encouraging and increasing diversity among our students, our faculty, our programs and the engineering profession,” said Dean Cristina Amon, a signatory to the letter. “Diverse perspectives deepen the engineering creative process, driving innovation and bringing superior approaches to address critical global challenges and enrich our lives.
U of T Engineering is a leader in Canada in fostering gender diversity. In 2014, women made up 30.6 per cent of the Faculty’s first-year engineering class – the highest proportion of any entering engineering class in Canada. (Learn more about women at U of T Engineering)
Released as part of the ASEE Year of Action in Diversity, the letter requires participating schools to develop and implement a diversity plan that commits to equity and includes training in implicit bias. Schools are also expected to organize at least one kindergarten-to-Grade 12 (or community college) “pipeline” activity, such as targeted recruitment or educational outreach, and forge partnerships with non-PhD granting engineering schools serving populations underrepresented in engineering.
Earlier this year, the Faculty was the only Canadian engineering school to join a related U.S. initiative to prepare undergraduates to solve “Grand Challenges” – complex yet achievable goals related to health, security, sustainability and quality of life. The program was presented in a letter to Obama. (Read more)