The University of North Texas College of Engineering has been awarded the 2021 Bronze Award by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) for its diversity and inclusion efforts and commitment to continued growth and excellence.
The award, which can be carried through 2023, recognizes the significant and measurable progress UNT Engineering has made in increasing in its diversity and inclusion efforts in recruitment, enrollment, and outreach as well as its new and ongoing initiatives in those areas.
"We believe an environment where diversity and inclusion are celebrated ensures the realization of excellence in all. We seek to incorporate these values into everything we do here at the college," said Nandika D'Souza, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the College of Engineering. "Studies have shown that a sense of belonging resulting from valuing diversity and inclusion enables all to realize their creativity and problem-solving skills. It makes for a positive learning and research environment."
The college's efforts include:
- Instituting a new pre-major program for students not immediately enrolled in the College of Engineering and creating a new peer mentorship program that resulted in 60 percent of underrepresented minorities moving into the major within one year, a 24 percent increase from the previous years.
- Creating UNT STEM @ thePark, a signature outreach series that increases awareness of UNT Engineering to the community and seeks to grow the pipeline to engineering for female and economically challenged students.
- Developing the Enabling Health Technologies Summit, which brought together the Texas Workforce Commission, the Community Foundations of Texas, the Governor’ Committee on Accessibility, Industry designing homes and equipment for increased accessibility external partners together with UNT faculty and institutes for Autism and Workforce Employment for People with Disability.
- Developing a new network – the UNT Diversity and Excellence in Engineering Network (DEEN) – which advocates for and empowers underrepresented minorities in engineering by providing connections to professional organizations, strengthening and expanding programs and support, and fostering relationships with alumni, corporate advisory members, the UNT Career Center, UNT Student Success and the UNT Multicultural Center.
- Hosting the Diversity and Excellence in Engineering Night (DEE Night), an event which connects alumni and employers with current students.
- Becoming a member of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN).
- Increasing the number of female faculty hired within the college, bringing the current representation to 20 percent female tenured/tenure track faculty.
- Encouraging faculty to participate in implicit bias and inclusion training offerings by UNT.
UNT Engineering was formally recognized by ASEE at the 2021 ASEE Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) Conference scheduled Jan. 28.