FAU Earns National Recognition for Diversity in Engineering

American Society of Engineering Education, College of Engineering and Computer Science, National Leader, Award, Diversity, Inclusive Excellence, Engineering

(Photo by Alex Dolce)

By gisele galoustian | 1/28/2021

The American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) has recognized Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science as a national leader in diversity in engineering. The ASEE recognized the college with its highest award for its commitment to inclusive excellence.

The ASEE Diversity Recognition Program (ADRP) was created in 2019 “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.” The recognition program is the result of the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, which has now been signed by more than 220 of ASEE’s 330-member engineering colleges. 

The FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science received this distinction through its demonstration of commitment to supporting underrepresented groups in engineering; regularly assessing the composition, policy, culture and climate related to underrepresented groups in engineering; providing programming that inspires and encourages students in K-12 or community college to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields in postsecondary education; and developing an action plan for continuous improvement.

“Engineering is a creative field that requires people of diverse talents, expertise and perspectives to solve humanity’s greatest challenges in an increasingly complex world,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean, the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Our ability to achieve ambitious goals can only be accomplished by cultivating an environment that allows every person to feel supported, valued and successful. Only then will we have the greatest impact on our society. We are honored to receive this important distinction from the American Society of Engineering Education.”

The rigorous process was undertaken by 21 colleges who submitted applications to the ASEE last fall. Each application was assessed by three reviewers using a rubric drawn from the ADRP guidelines in addition to an interactive panel discussion.

The FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science is home to an impressive and diverse cohort of 17 female faculty members and administrators. In addition, efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity have resulted in the college’s engineering programs consisting of 18.83 percent undergraduate female students; 25.94 percent master’s female students; and 24.64 percent doctoral female students that include underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

The college’s Women in Engineering and Computer Science student group includes 105 members and offers weekly activities focused on professional development, mentoring by professional female scientists/engineers and by senior student peers, scholarship opportunities, academic support and social activities. Student demographics of this group are 34 percent white, 27 percent Hispanic, 19 percent black and 14 percent Asian.

The FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science also promotes and supports diversity-based student professional organizations and technology-based student clubs including the Society for Hispanic Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and a student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Club. These student organizations provide diversity platforms for students to share and learn cultural differences and to enrich their university experiences.

FAU also is the most racially, culturally and ethnically diverse university in Florida. In 2016, the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science was awarded a Title III Hispanic Serving Institution STEM Articulation grant from the United States Department of Education. This ongoing project serves as a STEM pipeline in collaboration with two local state/community colleges. Together, the three institutions are promoting the recruitment of Hispanic and low-income students who matriculate from the state colleges where they complete their A.A. degree and then enter FAU to complete a B.S. degree in computer science and related fields. This project assists students at every level as they transition from a state college to FAU  to ensure a more diversified and successful technological workforce.

Founded in 1893, ASEE is a global society of individual, institutional and corporate members. ASEE seeks to be the preeminent authority on the education of engineering professionals by advancing innovation, excellence and access at all levels of education. ASEE engages with engineering faculty, business leaders, college and high school students, parents and teachers to enhance the engineering workforce of the nation. ASEE is the only professional society addressing opportunities and challenges spanning all engineering disciplines, working across the breadth of academic education, research and public service.