A Guide to Enhancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in College of Engineering Departments

1.0 Executive Summary

The College of Engineering, and each of its departments and their degree programs, are crucial contributors to Iowa State University’s efforts to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. This is because many student experiences (if not the majority) occur within departmental spaces, through interactions with instructors and peers.  This document is meant to provide guidance, suggestions, and ideas regarding ways to integrate EDI into many aspects of departmental function.  All examples and resources included in this document may be directly utilized by departments or shared with others without restrictions.

This document was developed using shared resources provided to the COE EDI committee from departmental representatives.  The COE EDI committee is a standing committee with a representative from each department, engineering student services, Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), and one or two student members. The committee receives an annual charge from the Dean and is responsible for guiding and advancing initiatives that create inclusive environments for all students, faculty, and staff in the college. At each COE EDI committee meeting, departmental representatives have the opportunity to report departmental updates, and it is recommended that the departmental representative or the chair of the departmental EDI committee do the same at departmental faculty and staff meetings.

This document describes a range of activities that can be integrated into ongoing departmental function to enhance EDI, including tips on how to get started and recommended best practices for departments and for interactions with students. Unsure about where to start?  Below are the top recommended actions for enhancing EDI:

  1. Create a departmental standing EDI Committee
  2. Assess EDI efforts in faculty and staff annual reviews
  3. Track EDI training for faculty and staff
  4. Communicate the importance of EDI to students
  5. Include EDI questions in senior exit surveys

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2.0 Creating a Departmental EDI Committee

Does the committee need to be included in the governance document, if yes, update!

Some departments define standing committees in their governance documents and thus creating a new committee will require governance document revision, which may take time.  In the short term, a committee may be created to serve at the pleasure of the Chair, typically referred to as a special, ad hoc or select committee.  Through this mechanism, the chair can immediately form a committee until changes can be made to departmental governance and approved by faculty.

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2.1 Committee membership

Who should serve? In setting up the committee structure, it is important to include faculty and staff with broad interests and expertise.  To fully integrate EDI within the department, departments should include faculty and staff who fully engage in teaching (such as Teaching Professors), faculty who are research active and actively engage in graduate student mentoring, and faculty who interface with the public through extension or K-12 education.  It is important to include both term and tenure track faculty as well as staff, so that opportunities for engagement within all aspects of the department will be considered.  We strongly recommend including a representative from the departmental advising team as they frequently interact with students and can provide information about any issues that may arise.  Advisors are also well-positioned to implement strategies and raise awareness of departmental initiatives or opportunities to students.  Departmental committees should consider student membership, such as including an undergraduate and/or graduate student representative.  Alternatively, if sensitive issues are frequently discussed, committees could meet with student groups or representatives for listening sessions each semester or academic year. Departments should consider having the representative to the COE EDI committee also serve as the Departmental EDI committee chair or vice chair.

It is also important that EDI activities and leadership not be disproportionately shouldered by non-majority faculty and staff members. Strengthening EDI is a goal of Iowa State University as a whole, and is a responsibility of all university citizens.

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2.2 How to get started

Take a look at your departmental goals/vision/etc.  Is EDI reflected in one or more aspects of the departmental strategic plan?  If yes, how can it be implemented?  If no, this is a great place to start! The departmental strategic plan should include EDI to be consistent with the College and University plans. If the EDI committee is new, consider starting by assessing realms within the department that could benefit from EDI activities and begin to implement activities in a strategic fashion.

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2.3 Suggested committee charge

A charge to the committee is helpful in ensuring committee activities align with departmental goals, and will also help the committee in establishing priorities.  The charge to the committee should reference broader departmental goals, related to EDI, with specific, shorter term tasks that will align the department in accomplishing these goals.  An example of a committee charge is provided in Appendix A.

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3.0 Best Practices within Departments

3.1 Departmental strategic plan

As a department, evaluate your strategic plan.  Are principles related to EDI included in the plan?  An example of ECpE’s departmental strategic plan with strategic objectives and key actions is provided as Appendix B.

In addition to strategic planning, departments might have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess progress in certain areas.  These provide an opportunity to align departmental goals with targets or metrics to track progress towards attaining goals.  Some EDI-relevant examples could include:

  • Identify a target percentage of faculty, staff, or students representing marginalized groups; consider setting these targets to reflect the general population or demographics of recent Ph.D. graduates.
  • Set a goal for a target number of hours that faculty and staff participate in training related to EDI topics, e.g. 100% of faculty complete X hours of EDI training
  • Provide funding for professional development opportunities related to EDI (e.g. X% or X# of faculty/staff attend a conference or $X committed to support faculty/staff attending conferences or sponsoring student attendance at conferences)
  • Integrate EDI content into key courses or to target a number of hours of EDI content in courses (i.e. 1 hour of course content + 1 reflection assignment in the sophomore year or integrate EDI learning outcomes into X% of core courses in each of the four years of the curriculum).

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3.2 Hiring

3.2.1 Training

Faculty or staff members involved in COE hiring will be participating in equity training.  The first part of the training will occur online via a Canvas Course: Search Committee Training.  After the online training is complete, there will be a follow-up meeting which will include discussion of the responses provided to the questions at the end of the canvas course, as well as opportunities for further discussion and to ask questions of you Equity Advisor and Human Resources representative.

3.2.2 Search committee flow chart

The Search Process was updated in December 2019 and includes specific steps related to 1) approval, posting, and building the pool, 2) screening of applicants, 3) campus interviews, and 4) negotiations and offers.  The process is outlined in Appendix C.

3.2.3 Add a statement highlighting diversity to position announcements

Below in an example of a diversity statement included in a recent search, which was pulled from the ISU Employment Opportunities webpage.

“Iowa State University is a global and culturally diverse university committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment.  We know that diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, thinking critically, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The university expects that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in Iowa State University’s Principles of Community.”

3.2.4 Require a diversity statement as part of the application package

Under the application instructions, consider requiring applicants to submit a one-page diversity statement.  Some guidance might be useful along with the requirement.  For example, the NSF-NRT DataFEWSion graduate program application includes this clarification: Please provide a statement of your experiences promoting diversity and inclusion – these could include advocacy, support, study, and/or experience with individuals and issues outside your personal background. The request could also suggest including examples of how the candidate has integrated EDI into research, teaching, and service activities.

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3.3 Training

3.3.1 Awards Committee Training

The awards committee serves an important role in promoting faculty success.  At a minimum, ensure your Awards Committee receives training on unconscious bias.  This might be formatted as a committee discussion or the Managing Bias Training via Learn@ISU could be required for all committee members who have not had a chance to take the training as a member of a P&T or Search Committee.  Your Equity Advisor can also provide in-person training on unconscious bias.

3.3.2 P&T Committee Training

In December 2019, the Iowa State University administration mandated that all college P&T committees would receive training in implicit bias.  Additionally, COE is requiring this training of all departmental P&T committees. The first part of the training will occur online via the Canvas Course: Promotion and Tenure Committee Training.  After the online training, there will be a follow-up meeting with the college Equity Advisor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, which will include discussion of the responses provided to the questions at the end of the canvas course, as well as any departmental/college specific issues that should be addressed.

The online training includes required modules plus optional resource material. The required modules include: messages from the Provost and Associate Provost; a P&T review process checklist; Managing Bias Training via Learn@ISU; an ISU-produced video on counteracting inequity and bias in P&T; and an end-of-course survey.  Estimated time to complete the online modules is 1.0-1.5 hours. Canvas will record the extent of each person’s completion of the various modules in the training.

There is very little overlap between the training of the P&T Committees and the Faculty Search Committees. Only one example (reference letter topic choice gender bias) plus coverage of COVID-19 are in common with both trainings, because of the relevance of these topics to both processes. The Learn@ISU module on “Managing Bias” is a component of both trainings, but only needs to be completed once.

3.3.4 Faculty/Staff training

In addition to equity training provided through ISU ADVANCE, consider regular discussion of EDI topics at departmental faculty and staff retreats and meetings.  For example, some departments have reported that using 1 hour of training at departmental retreats and an additional short presentation on a select topic at a faculty/staff meeting each semester has greatly increased faculty awareness of these critical targets.

Suggestions of presentation topics when more time is available (~1 hr or more)

  • Student-on-Student Harassment in the classroom
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusion
  • Inclusive teaching strategies
  • Overview of EDI Initiatives at ISU
  • Assessing ABET student outcome 5 (collaborative and inclusive environment of teams) and outcomes 2 and 4 (global, cultural, social, environmental factors)

Suggestions of presentation topics when less time is available (5 – 15 min)

The COE EDI Committee developed or is in the process of developing six-minute modules (6MM) on several of the following topics:

  • Formality in interactions with undergraduate students (emphasizes the importance of addressing all faculty by the same title)
  • Microaggressions
  • Stereotypes
  • Unconscious Bias
  • EDI Vocabulary
  • Writing reference letters
  • Short examples of ways to integrate EDI in teaching, research, extension programs
  • Mentoring grad students in EDI

Please contact the COE EDI committee if there are other topics that would be of interest; EDIC will develop the content or assist in finding available resources.

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3.4 Ensure the departmental environment is welcoming

3.4.1 Highlight diversity in departmental materials

To increase diversity in our programs, it is important to demonstrate our commitment to EDI through our external communications via webpages or social media outlets.  Are we highlighting the opportunities for diverse student populations in our programs?  What does our faculty/staff makeup look like? Are role models present for our marginalized students?  We suggest having the EDI committee take an objective look at departmental promotional materials to ensure diverse representation (photos and text).

3.4.2 Conduct an Environmental Scan

ISU’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion provides guidance for conducting an environmental scan of departmental spaces.  The tool provides a checklist for assessing the physical, interpersonal, and virtual departmental spaces to ensure that they are welcoming, inclusive and safe, and that they encourage development of meaningful relationships.  The tool is provided as Appendix D.

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3.5 EDI expectations included in faculty/staff reviews

By including discussion of EDI efforts in annual reviews, Chairs are demonstrating support for and acknowledgment of EDI efforts by faculty and staff.  In the example below, diversity and inclusion activities are included in two different sections of the annual faculty activity report.  For this particular department, faculty are required to submit an executive summary of professional accomplishments, and they are asked to highlight EDI efforts here.  Secondly, the report contains a more detailed section, one of which is entitled Professional, Administrative, Service Activities.  In this section, more specific EDI-related activities are identified and the faculty member is asked to provide details of ways in which these efforts might have been addressed during the past year.  A reporting structure such as this could also be modified for annual staff reviews.

Executive Summary of Professional Accomplishments

Highlights of diversity and inclusion activities (D &I workshops attended; D & I training; D & I activities integrated within your teaching and research program, courses taught, extension programs, and/or service activities; search committee efforts):

Professional, Administrative, Service Activities

Diversity & Inclusion Efforts:

Description Brief Detail
Enrichment of departmental culture
Recruitment/mentoring marginalized students (examples include APEX, LEAD, or student organizations)
Integration of inclusive teaching strategies in courses or Extension programs (examples include: a statement of expectations for a welcoming environment in the syllabus or program information, methods of team selection, using inclusive examples such as diverse persons, or inviting diverse speakers to class).
Promoting diversity with stakeholder groups.
Leading or providing training materials on diversity for research, extension, or other departmental/college/university groups.

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3.6 Assess departmental culture

Departmental culture can occasionally be assessed through the ISU ADVANCE Department Enhancement Project (DEP).  This effort will provide assessment through surveys and in-person interviews.  A report is provided to the department which includes study findings in the areas of 1) supportive working environment, 2) departmental leadership, 3) mentoring, promotion, and tenure, 4) diversity, 5) teaching, 6) support staff.  Opportunities to participate in this program are limited, DEP is typically conducted in a single department in COE each year.

Opportunities to receive feedback from students regarding departmental culture is provided in the Student Engagement section below.

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4.0 Student Engagement

4.1 Inclusive classroom training

Similar to Search Committee and College P&T Committee training, inclusive classroom training is now required for faculty, staff, TAs, and graders.  This training is being conducted centrally and led by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT).  Resources for Instructors:

CELT webpage on inclusive classroom programs

This site includes information about annual inclusive classroom training, workshops & webinars on teaching inclusively, and equity and inclusion in teaching and learning series.

It is important to note that TAs (graduate students and undergraduate students) should also be included in inclusive classroom training. In addition to the CELT training, the Managing Bias training, available through Learn@ISU is a good introduction and could be required for TAs.

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4.2 Statement in syllabus

Classroom environment statements should be included in the course syllabus to emphasize university policies and resources.  We suggest that this information be provided consistently in all syllabi associated with departmental courses. Recommended ISU Syllabus Statements and a Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist are both available through CELT.

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4.3 Code of classroom conduct

A code of classroom conduct can be included in the syllabus and used to set classroom expectations for behavior and interactions.  Departments might want to consider framing copies of the code of conduct in departmental classroom spaces.

Example Code of Classroom Conduct:

All students have the right to learn without interference from others. Instructors, teaching assistants, and staff members have the authority to protect this right by creating and maintaining an environment that is conducive to learning. Toward this end, the department has developed the following Code of Classroom Conduct.

Classroom misconduct is any behavior which disrupts or interferes with the learning experience. Students are required and expected to conduct themselves in a mature, considerate, and professional manner. Students should conduct and express themselves in a way that is respectful to all individuals. This includes respecting the rights of others to comment and participate fully in class. Classroom misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Engaging in behavior that disrupts or interferes with the learning experience. Behavior such as, but not limited to, talking in class while the instructor, teaching assistant or other students are speaking, using offensive language, creating distractions or disturbances, reading unrelated material, and moving about the classroom is, in many situations, considered disruptive behavior to the learning process.
  2. Using cell phones or other electronic devices that disrupt the learning process or teaching environment is not allowed unless related to class activity. The use of personal laptop computers, phones, etc. may be acceptable in some classes; however they must be used only for note-taking or activities in direct support of the course objectives. Instructors and teaching assistants have the right to ask students to shut down any electronic device.
  3. Entering the classroom late or leaving the classroom prior to the end of class is considered a disruption to the learning process and should be avoided unless exceptional circumstances arise or prior notice has been given.

Harassment of anyone will not be tolerated in any form. Harassment includes offensive gestures or verbal comments related to race, ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender, age, or sexual orientation, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of classes or other events, inappropriate physical contact, circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion, and unwelcome attention.

Iowa State University strives to maintain our campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students that is free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and harassment based upon race, ethnicity, sex (including sexual assault), pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as a U.S. veteran. Any student who has concerns about such behavior should contact the course instructor, the Associate Chair for Teaching, Student Assistance (515.294.1020, dso-sas@iastate.eduhttp://www.studentassistance.dso.iastate.edu,), or the Office of Equal Opportunity (515.294.7612, eooffice@iastate.eduhttp://www.eoc.iastate.edu/).

Adopted by a department in COE October 21, 2016

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4.4 Spiral curriculum approach to cultural competency

Consider reviewing departmental courses and identifying opportunities to integrate a lecture or discussion period related to EDI, or even better making EDI a foundational concept integrated into the curriculum.  This should begin in an introductory course for first year students.  For example, in many cases, this is already being done in ENGR 101 as Dr. LeQuetia Ancar (Assistant Director of Student Services and Director of Multicultural Student Success) has developed materials on Becoming an Engineer: Cultural Competency.  It is important to build upon previous content in following courses so that our students are well educated in their EDI competency when they graduate.  Suggestions for leveled topics as well as example learning outcomes (provided by Dr. Chris Rehmann, CCEE) are provided below:

Freshman year Cultural competency basic concepts; industry speakers on benefits of a diverse workforce; Learning outcome: students will be able to define basic vocabulary involved in EDI

Sophomore year Valuing diversity in groups, appropriate workplace behavior (workplace bullying, microaggressions, harassment); Learning outcome: explain the value of diversity in groups

Junior year Reflection of internship/other experiences; Learning outcome: evaluate the degree to which a group works in an inclusive way and recommend ways to improve the group’s inclusiveness

Senior year In-depth analysis of degree-relevant case studies, i.e. Flint Water Crisis – case study on relationship between socioeconomics and water quality; Learning outcome: apply concepts of EDI in analysis and design exercises relevant to the degree

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4.5 ABET assessment

ABET student outcome 5, requires that students demonstrate an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives. The COE ABET Committee and EDI Committee are working to provide college-wide recommendations for the assessment of evaluation of ABET student outcome 5.

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4.6 EDI training for student organization leaders

The Chair should have an annual conversation with student group leaders, EDI can be one of many topics covered, but could include expectation of club leaders, club meeting climate, and expectations for student spaces.  During the conversation, Chairs should be clear that departmental affiliation will be removed for all clubs that do not uphold expectations for an inclusive environment.  It is also important to engage club advisors in these conversations and highlight the importance of their oversight of club activities and interactions.  It is also recommended that club governance documents explicitly acknowledge the importance of diversity and an inclusive environment.  A review of this statement can occur each fall during membership renewals.

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4.7 Peer mentor EDI training

The Central Learning Communities Office covers EDI at the Annual Peer Mentor Training in August, at lunch and learns throughout the year and at the Mid-Year Institute in January.  Attendance could be required or departments could implement follow up training or discussion.

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4.8 Learning communities and network opportunities for students

It is important to provide students with opportunities to engage with peers, and there are several ways for this to happen.  At the college level, students may wish to participate in Leadership through Engineering Academic Diversity (LEAD) or other professional societies such as NSBE, SHEP-MAES, or SWE.  We also encourage departments to develop networks for our marginalized students in the form of a learning community or student organization.

4.8.1 LEAD

The LEAD Program provides programs and services to assist in the academic, professional, and social success and retention of multicultural, women, and international students in the College of Engineering.  The LEAD Program is coordinated by the Assistant Director of Student Services and Director of Multicultural Student Success, Dr. LeQuetia Ancar, and is housed in the Engineering Student Services Office in 1300 Marston Hall.  A description of the LEAD Program, including goals and a summary of specific opportunities for marginalized populations is available in Appendix E and might be useful in implementing departmental EDI activities.

4.8.2 Departmental Student of Color Network

In addition to college connections, many students will also be interested in developing connections with students and faculty in the department.  An example is the Student of Color Network which was developed by the ABE Student Services team, and details are provided below.  Other examples include Women in ME and the ESCEL program in ECPRE.

The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Students of Color Network (ABESCN) was created and launched in the fall 2018 semester by the ABE Student Services team with the aim of providing support, resources, networking, leadership, a safe space, and learning opportunities for students of color within our four academic programs.  The need for such a group was identified by our advising staff based upon discussions with students as well as inspiration from personal accounts in the Spark newsletter.

The development process involved having one-on-one conversations with students to identify needs and issues, investigating what support our department could offer for the group, researching availability of resources within COE and CALS, and creating clear goals as outlined through student discussions. We also used surveys to gather anonymous student feedback about what areas they felt were most important to address.  Finally, the invitation to join the group was sent out to all students in the department, allowing students to self-identify.

This undergraduate student group has established a strong core following of students of color, with others recently joining and expressing future interest.  Activities are based upon student feedback and include round-table discussions about identified professional topics (career fairs, resumes, interview preparation, etc.), presentations by equity, diversity, and inclusion leaders on campus, sponsorship of a resource fair for students of color planned by ABESCN and the ISU NAACP student chapter, informal outings to share a meal and socialize, networking with ABE faculty, and a panel discussion where graduating seniors in the group provided advice and answered questions. Each meeting and event includes sharing a meal.

Most recently, due to student concerns about the overall campus climate, we held a discussion with ABESCN members, the ABE advising staff, and a small number of faculty invited by the students. Other items of note include the award of a $3000 John Deere Innovation and Diversity grant and the creation of a dedicated space in our building for ABESCN members to use for informal gatherings, studying, etc..

One major outcome for the program is to continue to increase membership as we reach out to students of color in our programs with an emphasis on making this a student-driven group. We want to continually improve upon making our department welcoming and inclusive, so feedback, participation, and student leadership from ABESCN are not only important, but critical. This semester, we are focusing on mentoring group members to emerge as leaders who can help to provide direction and input moving forward.  Finally, as indicated by student feedback, we will continue to strengthen relationships between students of color and ABE faculty, and provide more opportunities for our students to make industry connections.

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4.9 Student exit surveys

In spring 2020 COE departments added questions related to D&I to senior exit surveys.  We will use this data to assess college culture, provide feedback broadly across the college, and identify opportunities for improvement.

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4.10 Graduate student annual reviews

Annual reviews of graduate students should also include some discussion or assessment of EDI engagement and/or efforts.  An example of a graduate student review form is provided below.

Graduate Student Annual Progress Review and Mentor Feedback

With your advisor(s), discuss whether you fully or partially met expectations in each of these areas and whether s/he has suggestion for improvement and growth.

Category Meets expectations (yes, no, partially) Suggestions
Progress towards graduation requirements
Progress towards research/ scholarly goals
Progress toward becoming an independent researcher
Leadership/management skills
Technical skills
Collegiality/collaborative skills
Communication skills
Commitment to diversity and inclusion
Knowledge of/adherence to ethical standards and prescribed policies and procedures (e.g., responsible conduct of research, human subjects guidelines, records management, use of infectious agents; etc)
Which of the following ISU COE “Signature Research Areas” most closely fits this student’s research emphasis?

❏ Advanced Materials & Manufacturing             ❏ Energy Systems

❏ Engineered Medicine                                          ❏ Resilient Infrastructures

❏ Engineering Education                                        ❏ Secure Cyberspace & Autonomy

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Appendix A: Example Committee Charge

Example Committee Charge Letter (PDF)


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Appendix B: Example Strategic Plan for D&I

ECpE Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion (Chaired by Dr. Diane Rover)

Strategic Objectives

  • Proactively establish an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff
  • Promote and ensure diversity of people and ideas among all constituent groups in the department

Key Actions

  1. We will strive to build a critical mass of diverse talent in the department, representative of all forms of diversity, by recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff, and students.
  2. We will promote inclusive practices and multicultural competencies in our education, research, and engagement programs.
  3. We will create welcoming educational and work environments and spaces in which differences in backgrounds and perspectives are valued and respected and every individual feels a sense of belonging.
  4. We will cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness skills through training and educational opportunities and resources.
  5. We will partner with internal and external stakeholders and draw on guidance from professional organizations and the engineering education community to enhance our efforts.

Key Action #1: We will strive to build a critical mass of diverse talent in the department, representative of all forms of diversity, by recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff, and students.

1 Identify a set of statistical measures to monitor annually List of statistics and current dataset Recurring dates to update data Staff assistance to support data collection
2 Identify benchmarks for the department in relation to statistical measures List of benchmarks and rationale Administrative meeting to review benchmarks Staff assistance to support data collection
3 Develop a plan for achieving a diverse instructional faculty with increases in percentage representation of women and ethnic/racial minorities Plan document Specific, measurable outcomes Faculty cooperation
4 Identify key recruiting connection points and build/enhance relationships List of connection points and status of relationship Responsibilities for connections Multi-year approach for relationships
5 Continuous review and improvement of recruitment experience for candidates Annual summary Plus/delta assessment Faculty and staff time

Short -Term Plan (1-2 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics & Assessment Resource Needs/Process Improve
1 Evaluate gains in statistical measures Annual progress report Comparison with benchmarks Staff assistance to support data analysis
2 Implement new recruiting and retention/success strategies for underrepresented and marginalized groups Modified or new procedures, policies, etc. as appropriate Level of implementation and measurable outcomes for a particular strategy Funding and personnel for a particular strategy, assignment of responsibilities
3 Build a strong network to recruit diverse talent Network contacts, sustained networking Interactions with network, results from network Time and effort by faculty and staff to engage with network, funding for travel/visits

Long-Term Plan (3-5 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve

Key Action #2: We will promote inclusive practices and multicultural competencies in our education, research, and engagement programs.

Short -Term Plan (1-2 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Develop an inventory of current practices and competencies Inclusive practices and
competencies report
Key practices and strengths identified Committee time;
faculty, staff, student
2 Complete a needs analysis Inclusive practices and competencies needs analysis Key needs identified Committee time; faculty, staff, student involvement
3 Evaluate department practices in relation to college and university guidelines and strategies Audit document Implementation or compliance rating Committee time
4 Update mentoring practices Mentoring guidelines Mentor/mentee survey Committee time

Long-Term Plan (3-5 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Develop and implement a plan for improving inclusive
Plan document Specific, measurable outcomes Committee time; faculty, staff, student involvement
2 Develop and implement a plan for improving multicultural competencies Plan document Specific, measurable outcomes Committee time; faculty, staff, student involvement
3 Periodic review and evaluation of effective mentoring Evaluation procedure Results of evaluation Committee time

Key Action #3: We will create welcoming educational and work environments and spaces in which differences in backgrounds and perspectives are valued and respected and every individual feels a sense of belonging.

Short -Term Plan (1-2 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Use available information to prioritize key improvements in the educational and work environments, e.g., culture of respect and empathy Actionable tasks for implementation Completion of tasks Decision-making, task delegation, funding as needed
for implementation
2 Complete a space audit considering welcoming, belonging, inclusiveness, innovation aspects (e.g., how to design, redesign, or repurpose space to be more
welcoming and inclusive)
Space audit document Areas for improvements Committee time and expertise
3 Agree on consistent messaging in ECE courses about respect and conduct (see also Key Action #4) Talking points for instructors Usage in courses Faculty cooperation
4 Obtain faculty, staff and student input on key reminders for everyone Handy reminder sheet or item Ease of use Possible funding for promotional item

Long-Term Plan (3-5 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Develop and implement a plan
based on the space audit
for space
Progress made in
areas of
improvement in
Committee time,
funding as needed
2 Draw on awareness skills and
training from Key Action #4 to
identify new opportunities for
enhancing educational and work
Annual request
for ideas
3 Periodically survey constituents
about climate and culture of
Survey response
Committee time
and expertise
4 Continue to develop inclusive
communications products
Products Number of
staff support

Key Action #4: We will cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness skills through training and educational opportunities and resources.

Short -Term Plan (1-2 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Curate a set of key DEI resources
that exemplify the department
mission for constituents
Resources lists Completion Committee time
2 Develop and deliver an annual training session for each constituency Training materials and dates Participant evaluation Committee time, session facilitators if needed
3 Establish meeting guidelines that promote/reinforce awareness Guidelines
Completion Also supports Key Action #3
4 Establish classroom and lab guidelines that promote/reinforce awareness Guidelines document Completion Also supports Key Action #3
5 Develop mechanisms such as reward/recognition systems, reviews and accountability focusing on DEI-related opportunities and expectations Department procedures Tracking faculty and staff activities and results Also supports Key Action #3

Long-Term Plan (3-5 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Evaluate level of awareness of faculty, staff and students
(effectiveness of training and education)
Periodic survey Survey results Continuous improvement process
2 Evaluate level of involvement of faculty and staff (effectiveness of rewards and reviews) Periodic summary Tracking faculty and staff activities and results Continuous improvement process

Key Action #5: We will partner with internal and external stakeholders and draw on guidance from professional organizations and the engineering education community to enhance our efforts.

Short -Term Plan (1-2 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Identify key stakeholders currently involved in DEI efforts with the department Stakeholders list Completion Committee time
2 Identify key opportunities with stakeholders to enhance DEI Idea generation by department and/or with stakeholders Quality of ideas to select from External Advisory Council review Coordination of and involvement in a process
3 Highlight current partnerships in department communications Web and/or print articles and social media items Number of highlights, media metrics Communications staff support

Long-Term Plan (3-5 Year)

No. Goals Deliverables Metrics &  Assessment Resource Needs/ Process Improve
1 Select strategic partners to advance several key DEI
priorities, possibly on a two-year cycle
Announcement of partnership and initiative Specific, measurable outcomes for department and
partner(s), External Advisory Council review
Administrative leadership, funding
2 Highlight new initiatives in department communications Web and/or print articles and social media items Number of highlights, media metrics Communications staff support

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Appendix C: Faculty Search Process

Approval, posting and building the pool

  1. Department allocated specific positions through budget process/approval from the Dean.
  2. Department Chair assembles committee(s) and sends charge letter.
  3. All search committee members are required to meet with equity advisor and HR Partner/Coordinator to undergo unconscious bias and best practices training, ideally at or immediately following the charge delivery meeting
  4. Search committee sets evaluation matrix/criteria to inform language in postings. (Department process)
  5. Create posting using college templates.
    1. Chair approves initial draft and sends to HR Coordinator.
    2. HR Coordinator reviews draft with ADAA and finalize through submission to Workday.
  6. Advertisements set up by department. Committee works on building the pool.

Screening of applicants

  1. Before screening of any applicants, department chair submits a diversity report to ADAA, outlining efforts to build diversity in the pool, includes search demographics (HR ISD Team can provide) and commentary on results of efforts.
    1. Approval from Dean is needed prior to proceeding with screening of applicants
    2. HR Partner is notified of approval from the Dean for the department to proceed
    3. For current cycle, if past this step, provide report ahead of any interview phase (including phone interviews)
  2. Committee rates applicants using its established process and completes the ranking matrix and submits the matrix to the HR Coordinator for review.

Campus Interviews

  1. Before campus interviews are requested, department chair will submit a memo to the Dean listing candidates recommended for campus interviews along with a summary of strengths and weaknesses. The chair and dean will meet to discuss and finalize campus interviewee list.
    1. Upon approval from the Dean, HR Coordinator approves interviews and attaches the completed ranking matrix in Workday and notifies committee and chair.
  2. Department conducts campus interviews appropriately for rank and tenure.
    1. All faculty candidates will meet with an Associate Dean or Dean for 30 mins during the 3-5 pm window.
      1. Tenure track: One of the Associate Deans depending on schedule
      2. Candidates being considered with tenure: With the Dean (Associate Dean if Dean unavailable)
    2. HR ISD (HR Partner) & Dean are notified of any named professorship or spousal accommodations
    3. Search Committee conducts reference checks appropriately for rank and tenure consistent with their departmental process
      1. Tenured:
        1. Department chair makes off list reference calls (at least 2) must be made as per Provost’s office requirements. Departmental voting for tenure must be completed.
        2. HR ISD Team confirms that all reference checks have been completed.

Negotiations and offers

  1. Prior to any candidate offer negotiations, the Department chair will submit a memo to the Dean listing finalist(s) along with strengths and weaknesses and obtain approval to begin negotiations. Include info on off-reference calls and results of department voting for tenured positions.
    1. Approvals shared with HR ISD Team, associate deans
  2. Details of offer
    1. Department chair negotiates start-up with AD for Research. ADR approval of startup needed prior to formal offer.
    2. Department chair negotiates soft offer with candidate
    3. Department chair notifies HR Coordinator of offer details
    4. HR Coordinator initiated hire and routes offer through Workday.

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Appendix D: Conducting an environmental scan

Building authentic, meaningful relationships is a strategic priority (Strategic Plan Goal 4.3)

To build meaningful relationships one must feel welcomed and safe as a valued member of our campus community.  To enhance community members’ feelings of connection, campus leaders should assess how spaces, programs, services, and resources create or enrich opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to build authentic and inclusive relationships. Environmental management techniques based on campus ecology provide a framework to achieve this strategic priority (Strange & Banning, 2015).  Campus leaders can use these strategies to evaluate how campus spaces are intentionally designed for inclusion across multiple identities and experiences, such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or ability level; and facilitate the development of relationships among students, faculty, and staff.

 Introducing an interactive tool: The Environmental Scan Checklist

The Environment Scan Checklist provides campus teams with a step-by step process to scan the environment and identify how to create positive change.  Departmental leaders work collaboratively to assess the physical, interpersonal, and virtual spaces and gauge how these systems and structures are (1) welcoming, inclusive, and safe; and (2) encourage the development of meaningful relationships.  The process of scanning the environment has tangible benefits that can be as important as subsequent actions taken to facilitate improvement.  The Environmental Scan Checklist is a short, simple, and quick way to create positive change.  The process of conducting an environmental scan is beneficial, and the resulting actions contribute to the accomplishment of the university’s strategic priorities listed in Goal 4.

Departments who have completed this process indicate it is beneficial

“The ABE faculty and staff who participated in the environmental scan process found the checklist document easy to use and the results valuable in determining if our facilities were welcoming to our faculty, staff, student, and visitors.  We have already made changes to signage, room layouts, and website pages.  Based on our experience, we would recommend that all ISU departments/organizations consider participating.”

-Dr. Steve Mickelson, ABE Department Chair

“The environmental scan checklist helped us review the health center from a different lens. We tend to focus significantly on patient comfort and privacy so it was a great exercise to help us ensure our space feels welcoming and safe.”

-Erin Baldwin, Director of Thielen Student Health Center

Sample Action Items to improve the campus environment

Areas to focus on over the next 1-3 months:
•       Update signage for locating the main office staff

•       Update signage for locating the student services staff


Areas to focus on over the next 6 months:

•       Add art in teaming rooms and student interaction rooms

•       Review website images and social media content

•       Focus on best practices in course-based project team creation and development


Areas to focus on over the next year:

•       Review “Making ABE Welcoming” protocol

•       Include staff in faculty Diversity and Inclusion training

•       Consider creating a talking circle for underrepresented students and females;  perhaps turn this into a more formal group or learning community


Areas to focus on over the next 1-3 months:

•       Address waiting area near allergy/travel to ensure confidentiality for patients


Areas to focus on over the next 6 months:

•       Update Mission/Vision Statements

•       Increase artwork diversity; showcase

•       Continue to analyze waiting areas, especially 2nd floor to ensure patients are comfortable  and do not feel out of place

Areas to focus on over the next year:

•       Website upgrades to meet accessibility needs.  For example, Closed Captioning,   Language Translation

•       Update holiday decorating policy to be more inclusive


Our collective efforts will create change

We all play a part in creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments on campus; spaces that enhance our capacity to develop meaningful, authentic relationships.  No one area can do everything to improve the campus climate; but each of us can do something – and our collective efforts will create change.  Using the Environmental Scan Checklist and developing an action plan for improvement is an easy, important, and effective strategy for success.

Strange, C.W. & Banning, J.H. (2015). Designing for learning; Creating campus environments for student success

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Appendix E: LEAD diversity program description

The Leadership through Engineering Academic Diversity (LEAD) Program, housed in Engineering Student Services, is a primary vehicle for programs and services geared towards the academic, professional, and social-cultural development and success of targeted undergraduate populations: multicultural students (1,110 fall 2019), women students (1,244 fall 2019) and international students (564 fall 2019); with a primary focus on retention.  Students do not have to apply to be a part of the program and are welcome to take advantage of services, programs and opportunities offered.  If you have questions, please contact LeQuetia Ancar at 515-294-0690 or lancar@iastate.edu.  Below are some specific opportunities provided for our underrepresented populations to help aid in their success and retention to graduation. 

Program Goals:

  • Provide academic, professional, and social-cultural development opportunities and support for students within the college, university, and surrounding community to aid in their success and retention to graduation.
  • Aid in the creation and development of an academic, professional, and social network for students among peers, faculty, staff, and industry professionals (alumni).
  • Foster a greater sense of connection and belonging among students in the college, university, and surrounding community.
  • Advocate on behalf of diverse student populations in the college, university, and surrounding community.


  • LEAD Living and Learning Community
    The LEAD Learning Community is designed to assist in the development of the academic, professional and social support network of first year and transfer multicultural students. Participants can opt to live together on a residence hall floor and take a weekly seminar course. Members benefit from a supportive learning environment through daily study sessions and access to tutoring services. LEAD Learning Community participants also engage in professional development seminars, industrial plant visits, out-of-class community building activities, informal opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, and alumni, and participate in leadership and community service experiences.
  • LEAD Learning Community Peer Mentor Program

Upperclassmen students serve as peer mentors to teams of 5-7 LEAD Learning Community members.  These peer leaders provide academic, professional, and social support to their mentees through weekly meetings and monthly community building activities, as well as facilitation of the learning community seminar during the fall and spring semesters.

  • Resource Referrals
    Faculty and staff can refer students to the LEAD office for academic, professional, and personal support.  Through one-on-one meetings, students’ needs are assessed and either addressed or referred to the appropriate campus resources.
  • Networking Luncheons and Workshops
    Weekly luncheons and dinners for students to network with peers, faculty, staff, and industry professionals in an informal environment.  The overall purpose is to help foster the development of a stronger academic and professional support system, connection, and sense of belonging.
  • Sophomore Success Seminars
    Monthly meetings, primarily geared towards second year engineering students, focus on assisting students in their personal and professional growth and development.  This is done through various seminars geared towards defining their sense of purpose, creating a greater understanding of Engineering as a discipline, helping to define their career goals, and strengthening their network of support.
  • Industrial Mentor Program
    This program is designed to assist upperclassmen students in their professional development through a 1:1 mentoring relationship with ISU alumni working for organizations in and around the Ames area.  Mentor-mentee pairs engage in a variety of networking events to help foster their relationships throughout the spring semester.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Presentations and Workshops
    Designed to engage students, faculty, and staff in conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion within the College and larger University community, in collaboration with campus partners.  These include but are not limited to: workshops and presentations to Orientation courses, student organizations, and professional conferences, engagement in campus-wide committees and initiatives such as the NCORE-ISCORE Project and its Professional Development Team, and service on the DiverCYty Network.
  • Campus Partner and Student Organization Collaborations
    Support and collaboration with the Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), which meets the needs of a large percentage of the women students in engineering through the WiSE living and learning community program, academic and tutoring program, and leadership development programming.  Other collaborations occur with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs’ through their tutoring program, workshops/seminars, networking events, cultural speakers, heritage month and graduation celebrations.  Lastly, LEAD supports various student organization-led leadership programs such as the Latino Leadership Retreat, Womyn of Colour Retreat, IMPAACT Retreat, among many others.
  • Academic Program for EXcellence for Engineers (APEXE)
    APEXEis an intensive eight-week, residential, academic summer bridge program designed to increase the success rate of incoming multicultural, first-year engineering students (program occurs in the summer between senior year in high school and freshman year at ISU).  Participants in the APEXE program are provided with academic, professional, and social-cultural development experiences to aid in their acclimation, transition and retention to the College of Engineering and Iowa State University.  These experiences include: a faculty/graduate-led research project, learning workshops led by engineering faculty and staff to explore engineering disciplines, engagement in industry visits and presentations to increase their passion for and understanding of the engineering profession, enrollment in foundational engineering courses (Math, English, etc.) to prepare them for college-level coursework, and participation in networking opportunities to develop their support system within the engineering college and across the broader university. On average 20-23 students participate in this program each summer.
  • International Student Retention Coordinator
    Provides programs and services to aid in the academic, professional, and social success of engineering international students.  This has been done through networking and community building events, a peer mentor program, 1:1 meetings with students, open forums, study breaks, and collaborations with various student organizations, among others.
  • Career Fair and Career Preparation
    Support for International students’ preparation for the Engineering Career Fair.  Further develop their knowledge of internship and co-op experiences as well as American work culture and interviewing practices.  Events include an internship and co-op showcase highlighting upper class students who have completed an experiential work experience and discussion of resources utilized to identify opportunities.  In addition, a resume review and elevator pitch workshop facilitated by volunteer staff is offered to students.
  • Engineering Global Friends Program
    International and U.S. engineering students are placed into mentoring pairs and meet once a week; they also attend bi-weekly programs.  This program is designed to enhance mutual cultural understanding, provides connection among students, and fosters a sense of belonging for International students.
  • International Women’s Day Program
    An annual luncheon with a guest speaker in celebration of International Women’s Day.  The program is geared towards all Engineering women and women identified students to create a greater sense of connection, belonging and empowerment.
  • International Student Roundtables
    Monthly luncheons and dinners for students to network with their peers, faculty, staff, and industry professionals. These events foster a sense of connection and belonging for International students as well as provide academic and professional support.

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Developed by:
Michelle Soupir, COE Equity Advisor
COE D&I Committee
Iowa State University
Updated August 18, 2020

Guide in PDF format

Table of Contents

1.0 Executive Summary.

2.0 Creating a Departmental EDI Committee.

2.1 Committee membership.

2.2 How to get started.

2.3 Suggested committee charge.

3.0 Best Practices within Departments

3.1 Departmental strategic plan.

3.2 Hiring.

3.2.1 Training.

3.2.2 Search committee flow chart

3.2.3 Add a statement highlighting diversity to position announcements

3.2.4 Require a diversity statement as part of the application package.

3.3 Training.

3.3.1 Awards Committee Training.

3.3.2 P&T Committee Training.

3.3.4 Faculty/Staff training.

3.4 Ensure the departmental environment is welcoming.

3.4.1 Highlight diversity in departmental materials

3.4.2 Conduct an Environmental Scan.

3.5 EDI expectations included in faculty/staff reviews

3.6 Assess departmental culture.

4.0 Student Engagement

4.1 Inclusive classroom training.

4.2 Statement in syllabus

4.3 Code of classroom conduct

4.4 Spiral curriculum approach to cultural competency.

4.5 ABET assessment

4.6 EDI training for student organization leaders

4.7 Peer mentor EDI training.

4.8 Learning communities and network opportunities for students

4.8.1 LEAD. 1

4.8.2 Departmental Student of Color Network.

4.9 Student exit surveys

4.10 Graduate student annual reviews

Appendix A: Example Committee Charge.

Appendix B: Example Strategic Plan for D&I

Appendix C: Faculty Search Process

Appendix D: Conducting an environmental scan.

Appendix E: LEAD diversity program description.