Robertson signs ASEE pledge to promote diversity in engineering

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Ian M. Robertson

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University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering Dean Ian M. Robertson is among more than 100 deans across the nation who signed an American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) pledge to promote diversity in engineering, which was presented to President Barack Obama at the White House on August 4, 2015.

Robertson is a director on the ASEE’s executive board. Recognizing that diversity and inclusiveness are essential for the development of creative solutions to the world’s challenges and to enrich life, ASEE declared 2014-2015 the Year of Action in Diversity and outlined specific actions in a diversity plan.

By signing the pledge, Robertson and the other deans committed, through specific actions, to provide increased opportunity to pursue meaningful engineering careers to women and other underrepresented demographic groups. They pledged to ensure that their institutions provide educational experiences that are inclusive and prevent marginalization of any groups of people because of visible or invisible differences.

Recognizing the urgency to act, the deans committed to establishing at each of their institutions programs that include the following:

  1. Develop a diversity plan for the engineering programs with the help and input of national organizations such as NSBE, SHPE, NACME, GEM, SWE, AISES, WEPAN and the ASEE that would articulate the definition and the vision of diversity and inclusiveness for the institution; assess its need or justification; provide a statement of priorities and goals; commit to equity, implicit bias and inclusion training across the school; define accountability; and the means of assessing the plan through various means including surveys.
  2. Commit to at least one K-12 or community college pipeline activity with explicit targeted goals and measures of accountability aimed at increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of the engineering student body in the institution.
  3. Commit to developing strong partnerships between research-intensive engineering schools and non-PhD granting engineering schools serving populations underrepresented in engineering.
  4. Commit to the development and implementation of proactive strategies to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in the faculty.

To read the entire diversity initiative letter signed by the deans, click here.

Adam Malecek