Over the past several years, the U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering has made significant strides in not only increasing faculty diversity while simultaneously fostering a climate that promotes the growth and success of its faculty, but also in making its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts a top priority.
These efforts have been the stepping stones to new goals and visions for the deparment and is not going unnoticed. The Academic Women’s Caucus and Center for the Edcuation of Women + (CEW+) have awarded U-M Mechanical Engineering with the Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award.
To make this happen, U-M ME has undertaken efforts in mentoring junior faculty, improving the faculty search process, and reinvigorating its overall DEI activities. The department enthusiastically participated in the Advance Launch Program, a resource for new tenure track assistant professors in the STEM field, offering support and guidance as they begin their careers at Michigan. In the area of recruitment, the department seated a very diversity-forward tenure track faculty search committee consisting of faculty and staff who have been champions of its DEI efforts. The search had a specific focus of finding faculty whose work lies at the intersection of mechanical engineering and social justice/common good and it resulted in an increase in one hiring slot allotted by the Dean, to four because of the quality of candidates and the importance of hiring more than one individual in this space. On the DEI front, U-M ME was the first department in the College of Engineering to appoint an associate chair with DEI in their title, a full-time DEI Liaison, and the first to flip the narrative from solving social justice issues just “because diverse teams come up with the best solutions” to include “because it is the right thing to do.”
The results of these efforts are reflected in the department’s record of hiring women and underrepresented minorities for the last several years, including six women and 7 URMs. In 2019 the department’s DEI Strategic Planning Committee began to put together a strategic plan, which led to the creation of both a faculty/staff DEI committee and a student DEI committee to help to execute various aspects of that plan.
ME leadership sees faculty diversity and work in the DEI space as essential to its success as an interdisciplinary department with a mission to “make the world work better.”
We congratulate the Department of Mechanical Engineering as the 2022 Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award recipient. Mechanical Engineering will be honored at a special ceremony on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 4 pm. The event will be held virtually. The Sarah Goddard Power Awards will also be conferred at the ceremony and the entire campus community is invited to attend.