Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Students in a hands-on lab

Leading Inclusive Excellence

As many engineers know, diversity fosters engineering innovation and excellence, resulting in new solutions and positive societal impact. At the UC Davis College of Engineering, we’ve invested in specific efforts to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and help them flourish. 

This year, we are delighted to report the college was honored with a Bronze Level recognition as part of the American Society of Engineering Education’s inaugural Diversity Recognition Program. The ASEE Diversity Recognition Program was created to “publicly recognize those engineering and engineering technology colleges that make significant, measurable progress in increasing the diversity, inclusion and degree attainment outcomes of their programs.” 

ASEE Diversity Recognition Program Bronze Level

In our college, we strive to create an environment that is welcoming to and supportive of women and underrepresented minorities, coupled with an unwavering dedication to student success and diversity that sets us apart from other, large public institutions of higher education.

Learn more about our efforts to sow the seeds of diversity in engineering in our inaugural issue of Leading Inclusive Excellence.

Diversity and Inclusion Plan

The following definitions are used regarding diversity, equity and inclusion:

Diversity: For the purpose of our plan, as it relates to recruitment, retention, and degree completion from the College of Engineering (the college), diverse populations will be defined as women and underrepresented minorities (underrepresented minorities in STEM = African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Chicanx/Latinx).

Equity: We define equity as a process that begins by acknowledging the advantages and barriers that keep us from all starting at the same place and continues through actions to correct and address the imbalance.

Inclusion: Active effort to create a welcoming environment and sense of belonging for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geographic region as prescribed by University of California (UC) policy.

The following university statements informed this plan:

The UC Davis Office of Equity and Inclusion cites two value statements: the UC Diversity Statement and the campus’s Principles of Community. These are guideposts for a common vision of diversity and inclusiveness at UC Davis.

Consistent with these statements, the college is committed to achieving greater diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering, realizing that inclusive, diverse professions are more capable of creating long-term, relevant answers to societal problems and building a world that works for all of us.

Current State

The most current census data for California shows that underrepresented minorities (URM) make up 47% of the population with Hispanics accounting for 38.8%; Black/African American – 6.5%; American Indian and Alaska Native 1.7%; and women make up 50.3% of the population (July 2015).

In January 2019, UC Davis met the final criteria to apply to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Students from historically underrepresented groups — African American, Native American and Hispanic/Chicanx/Latinx — represented 32.6 percent of both the entering class and all undergraduates who are residents of the United States. With Hispanic/Chicanx/Latinx students accounting for more than 25 percent of domestic undergraduates for a second year — 27.6 percent this fall — the campus has met the criteria to apply to become a federally designated HSI.

The following data reflects U.S. engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded (ASEE 2017 Data) compared to 2018 data for University of California Engineering Programs and UC Davis College of Engineering:

Graph of UC Davis compared to other UC's and national percentages of ethnic bachelor's degrees awarded
*Data on bachelor degree holders in Engineering were retrieved from American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) data mining tool. Percentages for Native American, African-American, and Chicano were computed based on degree recipients who are domestic students. Per ASEE methodology, only degrees awarded to primary majors were included.

We envision a college that more accurately reflects the diversity of California and the nation. Though the number of women and minorities in graduate programs in engineering has increased markedly over the past 40 years and continues to grow, there is much to do. The college will continue its efforts to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in our student body and faculty, engage in outreach activities to promote the unlimited potential of STEM careers, and we will focus our educational programs to prepare our graduates for careers in a quickly changing, diverse global economy.

The following priorities and objectives have been created to help achieve the above:

Priorities:
  • Establish an inclusive culture for all faculty, staff, and students in the college
  • Serve as a national leader in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering both at the university-level and in the workforce
  • Develop engineers for a workforce that values diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Graduate engineering populations reflective of California’s diverse demographics
Objectives:
Recruit, and admit, populations reflective of California’s diverse demographics

Through critical reevaluation of current recruitment programs, increased collaboration with two-year and four-year institutions, and partnerships with K-12 schools and programs, the college will work independently and in close collaboration with the UC Davis office of admissions and other campus centers and programs to recruit and admit a student population that more closely mirrors the demographic diversity of the state.

Retain, from matriculation to degree completion, populations reflective of California’s diverse demographics

To improve retention and degree completion rates, the college will examine existing retention programs, seeking to identify the possible barriers and challenges that affect student transitions and student academic success. In close collaboration with campus retention programs and services, the college will connect students to resources, provide opportunities for mentoring, and assist students with navigating the complexities of their degrees.

Increase and support a diverse engineering faculty

To increase the diversity of the faculty, the college will engage in the recruitment of new faculty. In addition, the college will extend support to new and current faculty through efforts to reduce implicit bias, develop an environment within which to share and discuss experiences and ideas, and create a sense of community through faculty mentoring and cohorts.

Establish dedicated college infrastructure related to diversity, equity, and inclusion

As part of creating an inclusive culture for all faculty, staff, and students, the college will develop the infrastructure to support such an environment. This includes determining potential dedicated faculty and staff roles, developing and increasing services to support members of the community, facilitating constructive and crucial conversations, and allocating space and resources. Such an infrastructure would support the college’s efforts to level the playing field.

Increase knowledge and understanding of issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Inherent in the priorities of the college is a need to increase faculty, staff, and student knowledge and understanding. To that aim, the college will engage in training in areas such as, but not limited to: cultural humility, implicit bias, stereotype threat, being an ally, mental health, universal design, and micro-aggressions.

Increase communication and visibility of college efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion

The college will determine opportunities to recognize the efforts of faculty, staff, and students. By increasing communication about such efforts, it not only increases the visibility of college’s efforts, but also reinforces a culture that advocates and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within the college and beyond.

Improve accessibility for all

Through critical reevaluation of the current facilities, as well as policies and practices, the college will identify opportunities to improve accessibility for all of its faculty, staff, and students. Once identified, the college will implement changes in support of improved accessibility.

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