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The American Society for Engineering Education honored the University of Arizona in the inaugural ASEE Diversity Recognition Program. (Photo: Gregor Orbino / University of Arizona)

UA Engineering Honored for Commitment to Diversity

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UA Engineering Honored for Commitment to Diversity

Sept. 11, 2019
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National engineering education society names college to first group of award recipients for dedication to serving underrepresented students and faculty members.

The American Society for Engineering Education and its Engineering Deans Council recognized the University of Arizona with a Bronze Award in the inaugural ASEE Diversity Recognition Program. UA Engineering was the only program in Arizona to receive this distinction.

The honor is given to colleges that sign the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, build the infrastructure to support diverse populations, have at least one K-12 or community college pipeline activity, and commit to a diversity and inclusion plan that includes measurable goals.

“Such recognition by ASEE reinforces our strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and sends the message to our students and faculty members that we are serious about these endeavors,” said David W. Hahn, dean of the College of Engineering. “I want to acknowledge Kathleen Melde, our associate dean for faculty affairs, for her work to help us earn this achievement.”

Women engineers are prominently represented in university leadership, with Liesl Folks serving as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, Elizabeth Cantwell as senior vice president for research and innovation, and Jennifer Barton as director of the interdisciplinary BIO5 Institute. Within the college, Melde leads faculty affairs and Kriss Pope is the assistant dean of finance and administration.

The UA chapter of ASEE, the Collaborative for Engineering Education Research and Outreach, is an interdisciplinary campus network designed to promote engineering education and provide students with service, research and professional opportunities. The UA is also home to student chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers.

The U.S. Department of Education recognized the UA as a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2018, a designation granted to institutions with at least 25% Hispanic undergraduate student enrollment. The UA is among only 133 four-year public universities with the designation.

The ASEE program honored 74 universities across the United States. Bronze status is valid for three years, and Melde said the college has plans to move up to the silver, and eventually, gold, category as its leaders strengthen its commitment to diversity.

“ASEE is excited to recognize these institutions for showing a significant contribution to diversity,” said ASEE executive director Norman Fortenberry. “In this first year of the program we are encouraged by how many of our colleges of engineering and engineering technology wanted to showcase their support. We look forward to expanding this list in the next several years.”