TECAID Purpose

For engineers to meet the complex, global challenges of the 21st century, the engineering community must increase its capacity to recognize and incorporate diverse perspectives. One way to increase this diversity of perspectives is through a culture of inclusion in which members of all groups feel welcomed and that their talents as engineers are valued. A starting place for developing such a culture is in higher education.

Engineering cultures are frequently unwelcoming and ill-attuned to members of underrepresented groups (such as women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and those from the LGBTQ community). Unfortunately, such cultures can be a significant driver of student, staff and faculty attrition in engineering colleges. Faculty members, through individual and collective actions, have a significant impact on learning environments, working environments, and cultures on university campuses.

Therefore, TECAID is informed by three core principles:

  • Much is known about engineering cultures
  • Engineering culture change to advance inclusion, equity, and diversity is needed to support innovation, creativity, and address global challenges
  • Engineering faculty are a critical group to engage as advocates for culture change in higher education

With these core principles in mind, TECAID’s professional development strategy aimed for three goals:

  • Increase the knowledge, awareness, confidence and readiness of engineering faculty and their allies to be effective internal change agents to advance inclusion, equity and diversity.
  • Provide engineering faculty and staff with tools and resources to be strategic as they learn about, plan for, and make change.
  • Identify local solutions that consider the current context, culture, resources, core mission, and activities of each academic community.

“To successfully address many global challenges, we must better engage the engineering and scientific talent of diverse populations. Today, many thousands of gifted individuals, most notably women and underrepresented minorities, remain a disproportionately small fraction of those in engineering careers, while at the same time the opportunities and rewards of an engineering career have never been better.

Innovation arises out of a diverse mix of thought, experience and inclusive culture–a culture that is frequently advocated, but difficult to achieve and sustain in practice. The U.S and most other countries are becoming increasingly demographically diverse: there is both opportunity and imperative for colleges and universities to be leaders in incorporating and cultivating the best that a dynamic society has to offer.”

- Thomas Perry, P.E., Director of Engineering Education at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)