TECAID Mechanical Engineering Department Team Projects

TECAID Team Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Project Descriptions

Each selected TECAID Mechanical Engineering department team:

  • created an inclusion and diversity-oriented project relevant to their own institutional context
  • developed and refined their projects using various TECAID strategies and concepts
  • identified strategies for achieving their goals in consultation with TECAID subject matter experts and colleagues
  • shared project plans, built alliances with university colleagues and external organizations, and implemented their projects

Below are descriptions of each TECAID team project : 

Michigan Tech

The MTU TECAID team sought to address DEI issues from both the student and faculty perspective. The TECAID team developed a vision statement depicting what the department will strive to achieve in its interactions with all constituents, regardless of their identity and worked with the department to achieve understanding and buy-in of this vision.  The next step was the simplest - incorporating additional DEI instruction into the undergraduate program.  With a new curriculum that incorporated project-based learning in many courses, faculty developed learning modules and materials on inclusive team practice, making good use of efforts that individual faculty had been developing.  Then, the TECAID team planned and executed a climate study for students that served as a valuable tool to assess the diversity and inclusion landscape of the department. A university-wide climate study was later conducted and will provide further direction for the department's efforts.  The end goal is to develop a culture in Mechanical Engineering at MTU in which DEI is embedded, such that faculty and staff participated in regular training targeted to their specific needs, e.g. office interaction, pedagogical, classroom interactions, etc. 

Oregon State

The OSU TECAID team facilitated a number of DEI trainings/workshops for faculty, staff, and students, and sought out feedback from trainings to continue learning about what went well/what needed extra attention. The team invited D&I consultants into the department to bring about awareness and motivate change for equity. They invested in the development of an existing Humanitarian Engineering minor (which has been growing in enrollment to be roughly 70% women) by developing a website, promotional videos, and materials for their primary display case to include humanitarian engineering examples and provide inclusive examples of “engineering making the world a better place.” They started a new undergraduate research program for second year women students. The TECAID team also conducted an ally-building staff luncheon. In 2015, Oregon State University added DEI values into their job descriptions by changing language in position descriptions to include equity, diversity, and inclusion and the TECAID team worked to implement this policy change, supporting the development of a factsheet with summary information on how faculty can plug into existing DEI college/unit efforts to help faculty be successful in annual evaluations using the newly revised position description. OSU’s TECAID team also advocated that the Dean consider instituting a new diversity award program that would recognize work being done by individuals and teams, and furthermore provide some small seed funding for related projects. Toward the end of TECAID funding, the department hired an African American female chair.

Oklahoma

The OU TECAID team facilitated a number of diversity and inclusion trainings and seminars with students, alumni, and faculty members. The team spearheaded the installation of a physical display case and a diversity board featuring achievements from URM alumni in the department’s building space to showcase their TECAID initiative. They also developed and administered a climate survey tool, analyzing the feedback. They have encouraged humanistic capstone projects for students, to make the topics more diverse and interesting for a wider audience. Their faculty hiring process changed, as they highlighted their involvement with TECAID in interviews and made sure candidates understood the values and policies surrounding D&I. Finally, the TECAID team planned and hosted a workshop for high school students, in an effort to attract URM groups and females. Toward the end of TECAID funding, the department established a permanent Diversity and Inclusion liaison as an effort to institutionalize these programs and develop momentum beyond TECAID.

Purdue

The Purdue TECAID team focused primarily on recruitment and retention of African American students. The team included a social science faculty member who led the process of conducting an ethnographic study, a longitudinal lens to assess the climate for URMs. The team also developed mentoring programs to support, retain, and help URM students thrive. The department piloted a course in fall of 2016 and a seminar course in graduate school with the primary goal of community building. The TECAID team worked at length on recruiting strategies for MEP summer pre-college programs by encouraging faculty members to volunteer and help develop age-appropriate activities for three different camps. Their recruitment efforts extended to visiting local high school staff to further engage and recruit diverse juniors in high school. Purdue University has begun working on a collaborative project (with the Krannert School of Business) on mentoring and facilitating diverse group interactions, and also is working in partnership with the Black Cultural Center. The TECAID team received one of the university’s Diversity Transformation Awards to expand and sustain their efforts.

Texas Tech

The Texas Tech TECAID team focused on improving retention of freshman female students, as well as raising awareness of diversity and inclusion. They created seminars for at-risk female students that allowed these students to understand the professional latitude and choices enabled by engineering. They bolstered their mentoring programs to support, retain, and help URM students thrive. The TT Mechanical Engineering student group met several times for community building and community service. The TECAID team collected data for their climate study and are in the process of data analysis to assess the climate of D&I in their department.  The TECAID team also participated in university-wide efforts such as a speaker series aimed at retaining URMs and a Trans-Disciplinary Engineering program to appeal to a broader audience of students. Towards the end of TECAID funding, the Mechanical Engineering department hired an African American male chair.