School of Engineering Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Executive Summary

This executive summary contains the mission, goals and objectives of the five-year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan for the School of Engineering (SoE). The executive summary is an evolving document written collaboratively with the School of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence Committee (which comprises appointed and volunteer faculty, staff, and students), key stake holders, and the SoE’s Dean Farris. The summary consists of the Strategic Planning Process, the strategic plan goals, the plan objectives, and their alignment with the university’s diversity strategic plan priorities.

Strategic Planning Process

The plan is pragmatically guided by the principles listed below.

  1. Evidence-based: Assessment of our school’s goals and objectives is based on a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis (SWOTS) that includes input and feedback from the SoE’s “Community”, which includes faculty members, staff, students, industrial advisory board (IAB) members, and communities with whom we regularly engage for recruitment and outreach programming. 
  2. Actionable, thoughtful, and pragmatic: We are a community that believes that together, we can connect our aspirations with actions by carefully constructing infrastructural changes that lean into and enhance what we know works, while dismantling and replacing practices that don’t.
  3. Focuses on What We Can Control: Our goals and objectives are mindful of areas which our school controls (enrollment criteria, hiring/promoting of faculty and staff, programming for community engagement).
  4. Based on Best Practices Known to Us Today: The SoE community recognizes and has leveraged the scholarship, guidance, and resources of experts in DEI best practices for achieving and maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community.
  5. Comprehensive and Inclusive: We acknowledge that our community and environment encompass the collective experiences, aspirations, and achievements of our faculty, staff, and students. Our goals are holistic in seeking to engage and mobilize all groups.
  6. Work in Progress: The draft of our strategic plan is a work in progress as we seek to obtain and integrate feedback, learn from resources, and grow with our collective experiences. We invite you to contribute your impressions and suggestions of this strategic plan.
Strategic Plan Overarching Goal and Priorities

The goal of the Rutgers School of Engineering (SOE) strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is to ascertain the school’s present state of DEI and provide a roadmap towards addressing the university’s strategic priorities that pertain to DEI within the engineering school. This report is informed by the University Wide Diversity Strategic Planning Toolkit that was established by the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE), and the Rutgers New Brunswick Diversity Strategic Plan. This strategic plan aligns with the five strategic priorities of Rutgers University: (1) to recruit, retain, and develop a diverse community; (2) to promote inclusive scholarship and teaching; (3) to define substantive and sustainable community engagement; (4) to build the capacity of leaders to create inclusive climates; and (5) to develop and institutional infrastructure to drive change.

Priority 1: Recruit, Retain, and Develop a Diverse Community

Goal 1.1: Increase the diversity of the student (undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral), faculty, and staff populations.

This goal seeks to increase the percentage of women, marginalized racial and ethnic groups, (e.g., African American/Black, LatinX/Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian) students within the School of Engineering. The school’s goal focuses on enhancing populations of departments with less than and/or within 1% of the national average values reported in the American Society of Engineering Education. Included in this diversification effort are veterans, populations with physical disabilities, and students from states external to New Jersey. The overarching second goal is to create an infrastructure for cross cultural (race/ gender/ physical ability/ sex/ veteran) education and respect within engineering. To achieve this goal, several objectives were established according to student, faculty, and staff populations.

Recruitment and Diversification of Students (UGs, Grad, and Post-Docs)

  • Enhance outreach programming for high school students.
  • Incentivize high school students participating in programs to attend Rutgers via scholarships.
  • Establish recruitment relationships with schools outside of the New Jersey area.
  • Track other demographics besides race/gender for inclusive and diverse environments such as neurodiversity, veteran, and LGBTQ+.
  • Establish partnerships with historically black colleges and minority serving institutions to recruit UG engineering students for graduate school.
  • Provide opportunities for existing UGs to learn about graduate opportunities and the degree programs at Rutgers.
  • Seek internal and external opportunities to provide more competitive financial packages and scholarships for all student populations.
  • Work with the SoE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence Committee to establish mentoring programs tailored for specific needs/obstacles for marginalized groups in the school of engineering.
  • Assess our application and selection processes for recruitment of students to better understand how to enhance our reach, applicant pool, mechanisms of capturing data, and tools for assessment of metrics.
  • Include diverse student representatives in recruitment activities.

Recruitment and Diversification of Faculty and Staff

  • Provide Rutgers Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE) training for faculty members, chairs, and directors of engineering programs (40% by 2022, 60% by 2023, 80% by 2024, and 100% by 2025).
  • Diversify the population of invited speakers for each department seminar to include more marginalized groups in engineering, e.g., women, Blacks, Latinx, etc.
  • Modify and Expand Recruitment Practices.  Increase the number and type of venues used to post recruitment ads, keep a record of where postings are listed, and which venues lead to the most (numerical), diverse (numerical/demographical), and highest quality applications.
  • Create strategies and opportunities for CLUSTER hiring of diverse faculty members. (The SoE received on of these prestigious internal awards in 2022).
  • Include diversity, equity, and inclusion statements as part of the application process to expose potential candidates to Rutgers philosophy regarding the value of diverse and inclusive environments.
  • Create tools and practices to better monitor and assess the demographics of the population of faculty and staff to better understand who applies and who gets hired into the School of Engineering community. Data will inform how to enhance our recruitment efforts and strategies.
  • Introduce an infrastructure to include and review department diversity statements that are presently part of departmental application materials.
  • Use feedback on the DEI statements to assist present and newly employed faculty members in developing positive DEI frameworks in their research labs, teaching portfolios, and interactions with faculty peers, students, and staff.

Goal 1.2: Retain and Cultivate an Inclusive Environment for our diverse and beloved community, which includes student (undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral), faculty, staff, alumni, and students involved in outreach activities.

  • Assess the diversity of our industrial advisory boards, seminar speakers, and for the school of engineering and its’ departments.
  • Provide opportunities for interaction and forums to discuss sentiments/experiences regarding personal feelings of belonging, equity, and inclusiveness with the classroom, engineering activities/organizations, curriculum, and programming.
  • Recommend and provide funding for faculty to attend professional development activities and conferences geared towards marginalized groups in engineering, e.g., National Society of Black Engineers, MEET, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Engineers, Out in STEM, Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, etc.
  • Provide DEI/Implicit Bias Training to faculty, students, and staff. This training will differ from STRIDE training and focus on understanding how to gain respect for diverse cultures and perspectives.
  • Establish a Faculty of Color Network for URMs faculty in SoE.
  • Conduct a climate survey (written survey) and interviews of current and past faculty employees to learn about practices and procedures that benefit/disadvantage them professionally, in addition to their sense of belonging within the SoE environment.
  • Interact with engineering student organizations regularly to better understand the specific needs of their communities and how the school can facilitate a better environment for them. Continue to hold departmental townhall meetings and forums.
  • Recognize cultural events via social media and via school-wide events to celebrate the diverse contributions of diverse populations of people.
  • Use the SoE Website as a mechanism of distribution of best practices for DEI in engineering workplace and higher education environments.
  • Introduce DEI training during onboarding and orientation of instructors, staff, and graduate students.
Priority 2: Promote Inclusive Scholarship and Teaching

Goal 2.1: Promote inclusive, diverse, and interdisciplinary research teams. High quality research often results from teams that comprise diverse perspectives, competencies, and disciplines, which arise from mutual respect and open communication. The strategies for this goal center creating opportunities for researchers within and external to the School of Engineering to create and maintain diverse research teams.

  • Provide networking and research seminars to connect researchers within and external to the School of Engineering to foster diverse teams of collaborators.
  • Conduct training sessions for inclusive research environments to teach faculty, researchers, and students about methods for creating inclusive work environments.
  • Provide internal incentives for research groups that are both interdisciplinary and diverse in team representation such as assistance with publication fees and seed funding/resources.

Goal 2.2: Promote scholarship and research centered on DEI engineering principles.

  • Provide seed funding for engineering DEI research.
  • Highlight research centered on engineering DEI research in SoE social media.
  • Provide administrative support for engineering DEI research and outreach programming.
  • Communicate and distribute scholarship pertaining to DEI engineering within the school of engineering.
  • Create and maintain a seminar series focused on highlighting

Goal 2.3: Promote inclusive engineering teaching practices.

  • Review SoE’s current policies and recommended practices pertaining to inclusive teaching.
  • Update existing inclusive policies based on noted best practices.
  • Encourage faculty to participate in CTAAR inclusive and accessible teaching workshops.
  • Establish brownbag lunches for faculty members to discuss methods for inclusive classroom practices.
  • Encourage faculty members to participate in peer classroom observations (formative and evaluative).
  • Provide funding for faculty to attend DEI related professional development conferences on inclusive and equitable teaching practices.
  • Create a portal of online resources on inclusive teaching on the DEI website.
  • Promote university-wide activities and learning resources pertaining to DEI in engineering education.
Priority 3: Define Sustainable and Substantive Community Engagement

Goal 3.1: Communicate our research and scholarship to the community.

  • Expand efforts in translating and preparing our research and scholarship to the community and policy makers via social media, the school website, newsletter, and alumni events.
  • Expand our support and provision of resources to for K-12 outreach programming.
  • Provide more opportunities for our students and faculty to showcase their accomplishments and research.
  • Provide opportunities to showcase the accomplishments of our diverse faculty members accomplishments and contributions to the School of Engineering via online spotlights and news articles.

Goal 3.2: Design and promote projects with and for community-based objectives.

  • Promote and showcase researchers who engage in community-based projects.
  • Provide administrative and financial support for research projects that are rooted in community-engagement and education.

Goal 3.3: Advance school-wide processes for recognizing, mentoring, supporting, and evaluating community-engagement research.

  • Schedule school-wide presentations from the Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service to educate the faculty, students, and staff on opportunities and types of community-based scholarship and engagement.
  • Articulate best practices within the SoE for advising, mentoring, and evaluating forms of community-engagement scholarship.
  • Clarify the eligibility of community-engagement research for SoE to actively support this form of research and scholarship within the SoE.
  • Ensure that new faculty members are provided within materials and resources explaining community-based engagement research to support their success should they engage in it.
Priority 4: Build the Capacity of Leaders to Create Inclusive Climates

Goal 4.1: Establish a formal high-level administrator role for DEI and a DEI community of advocates within the SoE.

  • The SoE DEI committee was formed in 2020.
  • The SoE of inaugural Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence was established in July 2021.
  • Provide administrative support for the DEI activities.
  • Encourage all members of the SoE DEI committee to become faculty diversity advocates.
  • Establish mechanisms where the Associate Dean for DEI interacts with all Assistant and Associate Deans, chairs, and directors within the SoE, and for these entities to support DEI efforts with the SoE.

Goals 4.2: Provide Strategies for Cultivating DEI leadership within SoE.

  • Offer learning, development, and networking opportunities pertaining to DEI to establish a meaningful pathway to accomplish DEI initiatives with the SoE.
  • Provide DEI related professional development and learning activities for faculty, students, and staff to foster the creation of and support of DEI leaders.
  • Integrate DEI into ongoing school governing bodies.
Priority 5: Develop an Institutional Infrastructure to Drive Change

Goal 5.1: Review and assess all DEI related issues within the SoE.

  • Review SoE documentation and bylaws with an eye to DEI language and issues.
  • Review and assess SoE’s diversity-related roles and activities and create initiatives in instances when needed.
  • Create documentation review committees for DEI statements, DEI related issues within each department and within SoE.

Goal 5.2: Develop a mechanism to communicate DEI related issues within and external to the SoE.

  • Develop and maintain a DEI space on the SoE website.
  • Establish townhall meetings and forums to discuss DEI related issues and receive input from the community regarding their perceptions of DEI with the SoE.

Goal 5.3: Develop an institutional infrastructure to Drive DEI related changes

  • Create a historical record of the school’s hiring of marginalized and underrepresented people within the SoE.
  • Maintain regular structures for education a growth in the DEI area within the SoE.
  • Define the responsibilities and reporting of the Associate Dean of DEI and the DEI committee.
  • Develop a strategy for regular maintenance and updates of the DEI website communication forum.
  • Develop an award mechanism for faculty, students, and staff dedicated to DEI issues within the SoE.
  • Establish mechanisms for DEI training and encourage faculty, student, and staff participation.
  • Encourage and facilitate the creation of affinity student, faculty, and staff groups to provide community and solidarity for support of marginalized and underrepresented groups within engineering.
  • Provide support e.g., public statements, reaching out and offering support to affected members of the community.