Cultivating Inclusive Communities

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) envisions widespread, inclusive, and equitable environments in engineering, academia, and industry that embrace individual differences and leverage diversity for a better engineered tomorrow.

Applications are due Oct 16, 2020.

We believe that advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) benefit from a community to talk about issues and learn together. To empower those who wish to take a more active role in advocating DEI within their sphere of influence, we seek individuals who want to engage in more in-depth conversations and build relationships in small groups with others seeking to do the same. 

Join the first cohort of our community-of-practice pilot program to connect and grow with others. Everyone who cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion within engineering education can participate.

What to Expect

  1. You’ll match with a group of ~5. Group formation depends on the input from applicants.  
  2. As a small group, you’ll meet monthly at a time convenient for your group. Recommended discussion materials will be provided.
  3. We’ll have at least three full group events throughout the 2020-21 school year.
  4. We ask that each group consider creating a shareable DEI-focused resource for publication on the CDEI website.
  5. A custom social channel for staying connected with the entire first cohort of participants.

More about the Program

The pilot project is dedicated to developing and maintaining an inclusive space. We welcome you to join and find your place!

The pilot community of practice provides a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of the engineering team — educators, administrators & students, practitioners & colleagues, professional engineers & licensed engineering technologists, registered & just thinking about it — from all races, creeds & genders. This space is inclusive, practices and promotes inclusion, and aims to foster a true sense of belonging for all participants. 

Within this space, collaborators and researchers find support through a spirit of possibilities. Within this space, all find encouragement to explore the edges of the status quo within their area of expertise. Within this space, everyone is welcome who affirms the culture fostered by the CDEI Cultivation Team.

For the 2020 pilot, the program brings together participants in peer-mentoring groups of around five individuals. As a cohort, these groups will explore common diversity, equity and inclusion topics together during regular online meetings through the year. The project provides participants with applications and resources, including discussion topics and hands-on learning opportunities related to equity concepts. Each group will establish their own collaborative learning goals as they relate to the project goals, visionary outcomes, and deliverables, with encouragement to produce shareable resources for the larger community. The larger community will meet at least three times during the year: at launch/kick-off and at a conference-style information sharing session to close the pilot.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a community of practice?

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner outline 3 dimensions for communities of practice.

  1. The domain: A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.
  2. The community: In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other.
  3. The practice: A community of practice is not merely a community of interest–people who like certain kinds of movies, for instance. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short, a shared practice.

It is the combination of these three elements that constitute a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that one cultivates such a community.

Learn more

Who can apply?

Anyone and everyone who cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion within engineering education can participate.

What is required for the application?

  1. Your details.
  2. Brief biography
  3. Short essay: Why are you interested in participating in this program? Please include what you hope to give and gain from the experience.
  4. Some rating questions on your diversity experience and knowledge, and what kinds of DEI initiatives and topics interest you. This will help us create balanced groups.

Is this only for ASEE members?

No. While this program is created by ASEE members with ASEE members in mind, we welcome everyone to participate.

Who will I be grouped with?

We aren’t sure yet how we will form groups. In the application, we’ve asked a few questions to get your input on how our participants would most like to be grouped.

What is the level of commitment required?

We encourage each group to meet at least once a month. The level in which you choose to support one another outside of the monthly meetings is up to you.

We encourage each group to consider creating a shareable DEI-focused resource for publication on our website. This doesn’t need to be a big task, but the scope depends on each group.

What are we supposed to do during our monthly small group meetings?

We will provide some discussion topics, but the time is yours. Each group can co-create their community and focus.

We will provide guidelines on how to run each meeting, and recommend that leadership rotate among members.

What if I can't attend the large group meetings?

We want you to be able to attend, however, it’s never possible to accommodate everyone’s schedule.

We may record the sessions, or we may not, depending on the content and level of privacy we wish to maintain.

How will we hold our virtual monthly small group meetings?

You can use whatever platform you have access to use. There are many free virtual meeting platforms.

When will the next cohort start?

This is a pilot program. Assuming it goes well and that we want to continue, the next cohort will begin fall 2021.

Applications are due October 16, 2020.

This effort is led by the American Society for Engineering Education Commission for Diversity Equity, and Inclusion (ASEE CDEI) Professional Development Committee’s Cultivation Team.

For more information, contact Meagan Pollock at