Robert Scott is the Director of Diversity Initiatives at Michigan Engineering and Co-Implementation Lead for the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Alison Bailey is a lecturer within the Center for Entrepreneurship, teaching ENTR 599.
The biggest challenge we have faced thus far on our five-year journey to implement our College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategic plan is getting active involvement. Faculty, staff and especially student engagement is critical for success, yet the focus on action and speed make participation and engagement challenging. Heading into the second year of the plan, engagement has become our primary focus, and we hope to hear from many more of you as we continue.
Thankfully, there are groups within the College that have already been proactive in reaching out, and who recognize that we can and must do better. One of the exciting examples of this our ENTR 599 course within the Center for Entrepreneurship, which challenges students to critically think through the eight key strategic objectives of the College DEI plan. What makes this course unique is that the assessment and plan feedback developed by students during the semester is shared with the DEI Implementation Team members.
So far, the analysis and input from students has been dynamic in thought and dialed-in with the current desires and needs of the student body. That is amplified by the unique diversity of disciplines present in the class, with students from across campus coming together to bring creative thoughts and ideas to the table. The Fall semester class zeroed in on the objective to build welcoming and inclusive learning spaces.
The class facilitates a deeper understanding of what diversity, equity, and inclusion may be and why it matters more today than ever. Most importantly, participants know that they have had a direct hand in shaping how the College is moving forward on its mission and vision of inclusive leadership.
There are many ways to get involved in educating yourself or engaging in DEI programs and initiatives. We hope you’ll take the initiative to explore some of these options:
- Take a DEI class/workshop
- Participate in upcoming MLK programs in January
- Learn who is on the Student DEI Advisory Council and provide input
- Sign up for ENTR 599
- Build DEI elements into projects and assignments
- Consider programs like BlueLab to contribute from a social engineering standpoint
- Provide thoughts and input via the College DEI website