Diversity
2014-2019 Strategy

Preamble

The College of Engineering is committed to fostering diversity by continuing to build a welcoming and supportive environment for its students, faculty, staff, partners, and other constituents and to nurturing a learning and working environment that respects differences in culture, age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.

The leadership of the Penn State College of Engineering is one of the most diverse academic units in the STEM field anywhere. Among institutions who are members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), Penn State has the second highest enrollment of undergraduate students, ranking first in the total number of Bachelor's degrees awarded, first in the number of Bachelor's degrees awarded to underrepresented students, and third in the number of degrees awarded to women (seventh in the nation for the number of B.S. degrees awarded to women). Penn State ranks third among CIC institutions for the number of Ph.D.'s awarded to African American, Hispanic, and Native American engineers. The American Society for Engineering Education statistics on over 300 engineering institutions in the U.S. indicate that Penn State ranks in the top ten institutions for numbers of tenured and tenure-track Asian, African American, and Hispanic faculty, and fourth in the number of tenured and tenure-track women engineering faculty. While Penn State's numbers are higher than most of its peer institutions, the percentages of women and underrepresented groups are lower. We are committed to broadening participation in our programs and creating an inclusive community that celebrates the intellectual richness that diversity leads to.

This document presents our values, vision, mission, and goals related to diversity. The goals are grouped according to the seven challenges identified by the University.

Values

  • Excellence: We pursue excellence in our educational, research, and service programs, supporting our faculty, staff, and students in their individual and collective efforts to achieve their professional and personal career goals. We expect, value, and recognize excellence from our faculty, staff, and students.
  • Innovation: We seek and embrace innovation and creativity in teaching and learning; research and discovery; service and engagement; and governance of our academy.
  • Professionalism: We perform our work safely and at the highest level, exercising good judgment, and interacting collegially both inside and outside of Penn State.
  • Integrity: We respect others, conduct ourselves ethically, honestly and openly, honor our commitments, and fairly resolve ethical issues in our work.
  • Diversity: We value living and working in a diverse community that enriches cultural and technical experiences, and we strive to enhance the diversity of our faculty, staff, students, and collaborators.
  • Collaboration: We collaborate across disciplinary, administrative, cultural, and political boundaries to understand and integrate expertise and experiences complementary to ours and to facilitate devising innovative solutions to societal challenges.
  • Sustainability: We conduct our academic mission in a safe and sustainable manner, strive to protect and enhance our natural and built environment for future generations, and permeate sustainability principles in our interactions with students, staff, faculty, and collaborators.

Vision

The College of Engineering will be a top-ranked preeminent global academy in world-class engineering education and learning, research and discovery, and service to and engagement with the technical community and civil society.

Mission

To nurture and train world-class, socially aware, globally connected, diverse engineers, educators, and researchers with rigorous core knowledge and problem-solving skills, who understand complex, interacting engineering and societal systems. To develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges through transformational interdisciplinary research.

Strategic Goals in Diversity

Develop a Shared and Inclusive Understanding of Diversity

Through community debate, we aim to define diversity in its broad remit, in the context of the College of Engineering at Penn State, its value to society and its relationship to the quality and success of organizations as well as a healthy work environment. We aim to create a community that deeply believes in the value of diversity and withholds the principles and necessary actions to enhance the diversity of our community.

Actions:

  1. Organize town halls and forums to foster a dialogue among faculty, staff, and students about the value of diversity.
  2. Include content in the College's media and publications that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and reflects our belief in an inclusive environment.
  3. Recognize our staff, faculty, and students who make significant contributions to achieving the College's diversity goals.

Create a Welcoming Campus Climate

A welcoming environment in which each member of the College of Engineering community feels appreciated by and is respectful of their colleagues is necessary for us to achieve our individual and collective potential. We plan to create a climate that is inclusive and encourages technical and cultural diversity.

Actions:

  1. Identify barriers to the creation of a welcoming climate through dialogue, surveys, and community studies, and create programs that breach the identified barriers.
  2. Communicate broadly the College and University resources available to overcome climate challenges.
  3. Enhance orientation programs for faculty, staff, and students to emphasize the importance of diversity.

Recruit and Retain a Diverse Student Body

The capabilities and training of our students to address global challenges requires that they work and live in a diverse community on campus, in order for them to appreciate the cultural and technical contexts of transnational projects and career paths. We will work diligently to broaden the diversity profile of our students through the actions below.

Actions:

  1. Devise and implement policies and tactics that have a positive influence on the diversity of our new students and that enhance the retention of new and existing students.
  2. Work with the Commonwealth Campuses to increase the diversity of their undergraduate engineering student body and develop programs to retain them through their transition to University Park and beyond.
  3. Strengthen and broaden participation in programs directed at retention of our diverse students and those populations who statistically have the least access to resources needed to yield an engineering degree.

Recruit and Retain a Diverse Workforce

The diversity of the student body is strongly influenced by the diversity of the workforce. It is essential that our workforce is inclusive of all sectors of society and represents our belief in a diverse, harmonious, and inclusive Penn State Engineering community.

Actions:

  1. Identify and assimilate best practices for increasing the diversity of the applicant pool for positions.
  2. Broaden the technical scope of faculty searches to increase the applicant pool diversity and potential for building a more inclusive professoriate.
  3. Strengthen career development opportunities to enhance retention.

Develop a Curriculum that Fosters Cultural Competencies

World-class engineers must understand, value, and incorporate cultural context into their profession in order to produce effective solutions to complex problems. We will infuse the theme of becoming a world-class engineer broadly into our curriculum and provide further opportunities for our students to strengthen their global awareness.

Actions:

  1. Continue to stress the characteristics of the world-class engineer throughout the undergraduate experience and extend it to the graduate student level.
  2. Increase educational experiences aimed at developing international and intercultural competencies.
  3. Increase curricular elements and extracurricular programs that engage students in solving complex socio-technical transnational problems.

Diversify University Leadership and Management

An organization advocating inclusiveness can only be successful if it starts with its leadership. We will continue to emphasize diversity in leadership and management and seek to broaden representation in the decision making process. We will identify and nurture future leaders among our workforce who believe in the value of diversity.

Actions:

  1. Create and support leadership development opportunities for faculty and staff to increase the diversity of qualified internal applicant for leadership positions.
  2. Open up search to external applicants whenever possible.
  3. Assure that the membership of search committees is representative of our community and College units.

Strategy Implementation Plan

The 18 actions listed above are being included in the strategy implementation plan of the College, and will be vigorously pursued, with the allocation of responsibilities, resources, timelines, milestones, and metrics of performance.

Download Diversity Strategic Plan