Engineering is empowering society in unprecedented ways. It is at the core of all innovation and the most important discipline to address current and emerging challenges in the US and on a global scale. A fundamental requirement to enabling this, however, is for the engineering education community and the engineering profession to enlarge the engagement in engineering of all segments of our society. In particular, engineering must include and help promote the pursuit of engineering education and engineering careers in all those who have been historically under-represented within engineering. ASEE believes that diversity and inclusiveness enriches and is essential to educational experiences and innovations that drive the development of creative solutions in addressing the world's challenges. This is the true power of engineering disciplines. We learn from experiences, beliefs, and perspectives that are different from our own. Diversity, both intellectually and socially, can only fuel innovation and the development of imaginative and enduring solutions to global problems.
It is with this imperative that ASEE strongly believes that all must be provided with equality of opportunity to pursue and advance in engineering careers and that no individual should experience marginalization or non-inclusiveness of their contributions or talents because of visible or invisible differences. For example, among others, these differences include age, belief system, disability status, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and any other visible or non-visible differences. ASEE is committed to increasing the participation, inclusiveness and empowerment of historically under-represented segments of the society in all venues where engineering is taught, practiced and supported. These include pre-college, college and industry environments as well as professional engineering organizations. Our vision is to create and foster environments where every individual is respected and no one feels marginalized. ASEE believes that this can be achieved by supporting the education, recruitment, retention, and advancement of these groups in engineering education, engineering technology education, and the engineering profession. While ASEE recognizes that steady gains have been made in the number of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans in engineering over the past several years, substantial progress must still be made to reach a level where engineering is fully empowered by all segments of our society, and particularly those historically underrepresented.
In 2011, the ASEE created a Diversity Committee with the goal to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the engineering profession. As part of its charge, the committee encourages each member division to hold at least one activity per year that features inclusiveness, and engages ASEE leaders and members 1) to articulate the importance to the profession of advancing diversity and 2) promote individual and organizational opportunities and responsibilities in developing an engineering community that “looks like” America.
The committee's strategic plan includes creating model policies and practices for engineering colleges, with practical guidance on actions leading to attracting a diverse and inclusive set of students; lifting barriers to access for students from underrepresented groups; and enrolling, retaining, and graduating more diverse cohorts of engineers. The committee also aims to encourage engineering schools and colleges to collaborate with and implement successful programs that promote diversity and inclusiveness.
The year 2014-2015 was declared by ASEE as the Year of Action in Diversity. In response to this significant recognition, the Diversity Committee is actively engaged in a number of special activities this year. Details are available http://diversity.asee.org
The American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit association of more than 11,000 members representing colleges, corporations, and other organizations dedicated to promoting excellence in engineering education and engineering technology education. ASEE, which celebrated its centennial in 1993, plays a key role in developing and promoting policies that will enable engineering education and its allied branches of science and technology to meet the new challenges of global competition and changing demographics.