Michigan Engineering News

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Community teams drive new College initiative toward more inclusive campus

Six month’s of progress and what’s ahead for the College.

The sun shining on the Lurie Bell Tower in North Campus
Lurie Bell Tower on North Campus. Photo: Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering

Last fall, we announced a culture shift at the College of Engineering. Following a summer of heightened awareness of violence against Black Americans, and leading up to the end of our five-year DEI strategic plan, the dean announced two major initiatives that I shared with you last fall.

I am pleased to report that we are making steady progress on our initiative to educate everyone in engineering on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion, starting with a focus on race, ethnicity and bias. A wide range of your colleagues and peers have been working on community teams to make proposals, gather feedback from all of you, and begin to chart a path forward.

The events of this week underscore the importance of work like this. Tuesday’s verdict on the murder of George Floyd was a much-needed step towards racial justice, but we recognize that we still have much work to do. My hope is that each small step we take today will bring us closer to a fairer world tomorrow.  

The teams expect to finalize the proposals in the next couple of months.


Proposal: Establish and maintain ongoing DEI professional development programs

Progress to date

  • Conducted an all-faculty survey and a systematic discussions to gather faculty feedback about instituting a continuing education program on DEI, with initial focus on anti-Black racism
  • Analyzed results and provided detailed report to the committee responsible for developing a proposal on curriculum
  • The curriculum committee has produced a draft proposal and is preparing to present it to the Dean’s Cabinet and the College of Engineering’s Executive Committee

Future Work

  • Develop plan for evaluating the new DEI professional development program
  • Specify requirements for infrastructure to track participation in DEI education. This step will facilitate DEI activity reporting and reflection into the annual Faculty Activities Report (FAR) 
  • Seek approval for the program from the Executive Committee


Proposal: Integrate DEI programs into ongoing professional development efforts.

Progress to Date

  • Gathered and analyzed feedback from a staff survey, a staff mini-retreat, and a staff Creative Conversations series
  • Surveyed peer institutions on existing racial equity programs and efforts, analyzed the data 
  • Gathered and organized content based on delivery modalities/lengths, audience and appropriate level
  • Created prototypes for an assessment tool and a learning content matrix
  • Reflection box added to staff performance review (piloting 2021)

Future Work

  • Pilot and refine the self-assessment tool
  • Investigate the possibility of an annual climate survey or regular assessment (in conjunction with new center)
  • Engage the staff DEI Committee (DEIC) for smooth transition of implementation and oversight of staff DEI offerings (in conjunction with new center)


Proposal: Integrate DEI content into some existing courses and develop a new required course for DEI.

Progress to Date

  • Gathered peer institution information
  • Developed a general set of learning objectives for the undergraduate curriculum and an initial plan for integration into the curriculum
  • Produced a video that describes the purpose and proposed elements of the undergraduate curriculum 
  • Completed a stakeholder input plan, primarily with students and faculty, with some input from staff, peer institutions, and industry
  • Completed a College curriculum gap analysis in light of learning objectives

Future Work

  • Refine learning objectives based on literature and input from diversity scholars
  • Develop evidence-based practices for creating, piloting, and refining learning modules. 
  • Develop pilots for next academic year

Graduate students and postdocs

Proposal: Expanded DEI professional development to prepare participants for their professional environments. 

Progress to Date

  • Discussed plan with graduate student and postdoc organizations, surveyed all College graduate students and postdocs
  • Evaluated Rackham’s existing infrastructure for tracking workshop participants and assessing outcomes
  • Developing MOU with Rackham regarding workshop learning outcomes and capacity
  • Launched Winter 2021 pilot with Rackham
  • Launched Graduate Student and Postdoc DEI Education Faculty Advisory Committee

Current & Future Work

  • Incorporate student/postdoc/faculty feedback into educational plans
  • Collect feedback from pilot participants, assessing outcomes
  • Identify and develop tools for long-term tracking of workshop participation and assessment

Change It Up to Stop Anti-Black Racism

Proposal: Implement Change it Up to Stop Anti-Black Racism bystander intervention workshops.

Progress to Date

  • Conducted 13 workshops
  • Completed a pilot program (Audiences: ADGPE, ADUE, CEDO, DEI SAB, OSA, RPM, department chairs, ECE managers, DEI Implementation Team, UAs, C&M, CFE)
  • Trained 24 facilitators to present sessions
  • Began rollout to entire College community

Future Work

  • Continue campus-wide implementation 

DEI Implementation of Technology Tools

Progress to Date

  • Team has begun assessment and recommendations for tools in the four areas: Event registration and attendance; recording database for DEI professional development and training; professional development training platforms; visualization and reporting

Future Work

  • Complete recommendations and review with stakeholders
  • Identify any additional technology tools needed based on further community plan development 

Work on the second major initiative—evolving the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach (CEDO)—has not officially begun yet. Once the teams working on the education initiative complete their final report, their recommendations will inform the direction of the new center. 

Thank you for your contribution to these efforts, whether you are on a community team or have participated in the dialogue—including through the DEI mini-retreat last month Together, we create our culture, and I am glad to be on this journey with you. I trust that it will lead to a more equitable and inclusive environment for us all. If you would like to share your thoughts on the diversity, equity and inclusion plan, please use the feedback form.