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FIU SUCCEED DEI Plan Narrative

 2021-2022
Chair: Monica Cardella
SUCCEED Faculty: Bruk Berhane, Alexandra Coso-Strong, Trina Fletcher and Stephen Secules, Mark Weiss
 

The SUCCEED Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee has been meeting for the last five months developing a plan of action for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. The committee is committed to specific initiatives within three categorized action areas for the year and is committed to re-evaluating these priorities and setting new priorities every year in April. As a committee we recognize, acknowledge, and honor the fact that DEI is a journey and not a destination.

 

The action items are categorized as:

1) Faculty University Requirements, 2) Faculty Hiring and Retention, 3) Graduate Students, 4) Undergraduate Students and 5) Accessibility checks of all courses. We will describe each category, the priorities, and if any action items have been deemed completed.

 

Faculty University Requirements and Hiring - includes the goals established at the Provost’s office. These include a series of trainings that address hiring best practices that support our efforts to achieve more diversity at the university. Please find below the training, goals, status, and next steps in achieving these goals. When addressing faculty hiring, we have divided effort up in to four subcategories: hiring/ search committees, recruitment, selecting and interviewing candidates, and retention, promotion, and recognition. The Faculty University Requirement (above) addressed proper training of search committees, but this next category gives specific consideration to diversity and equity during the search and screen process as well as developing mechanisms for supporting all faculty when they join the department. In order to achieve diversity in the department and maintain high-quality services and experiences, we acknowledge that as a department we need to work harder to seek out diverse candidates in future searches. As such we have committed to the following goals and action steps.

 

Search committees:

The SUCCEED faculty in concert with the Director, has had, and will continue to have, individuals serve on the search committee with a demonstrated commitment to diversity. The current representation of the faculty in SUCCEED is noteworthy because it consists largely of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities.

 

Recruitment:

In order to set goals for recruitment, screening, and hiring, the committee must first understand

the current practice and results. The committee with the support of the faculty and Director

collected and reviewed 2019-2020 candidates during the hiring process to determine

where to focus future efforts to diversify the pool, work towards having on-site interviews with

diverse candidates, and eventual hiring of more diverse candidates. Upon review of past

practices, the following recommendations were made, and action steps were created:

 

Selection and interviewing: Once we have certified the candidate pool, we want to ensure that we adopt and execute STRIDE best practices (see Faculty University Requirements). One such best practice is the development of a rubric for evaluating candidates in order to mitigate potential for bias during the selection process. In the 2020-2021 academic search cycle, our Search Committee prototyped an initial rubric that is attached. This rubric will be reviewed by the entire faculty in Fall 2021 prior to the start of the next academic search cycle. It will include, among other things, a rating to assess candidates’ demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

 

Retention, promotion, and recognition:

In addition to hiring diverse candidates, we wish to retain all of our faculty. SUCCEED is currently approaching 3 years old and all faculty and staff are still with the school. To that end, we have and will continue to welcome differing viewpoints, support transformational leadership styles for faculty in leadership position, and respect and honor the uniqueness of each member of SUCCEED. To support this, the Director will seek out and participate in trainings focused on creating anti-racist work environments.

 

Graduate Students – SUCCEED has had great success with recruiting diverse graduate students. Our first cohort for 2020-2021 included a diverse group of students. 100% of the students were  individuals from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and gender perspectives. Additionally, all SUCCEED graduate students take EGN 6957 Professional Development in Engineering and Computing Education Research, where they are provided with an exploration of professional development tools and techniques within engineering and computing education research and practice. They also discuss the advising and dissertation processes, as well as how to communicate effectively with prospective mentors. All SUCCEED graduate students also take EGS-6057 Equity in STEM Education: Research, Policy, and Practice where they learn the ins and outs of how diversity, equity and inclusion exist within engineering and computing education. Given that DEI is a core value within our department, we have made consistent efforts to integrate DEI within our courses, as described above, and in our graduate program policy discussions and decisions. Graduate students have opportunities each semester to give feedback to the Graduate Program Director and the Senior Program Coordinator to make sure their voices are heard. Many SUCCEED graduate students perform research related to DEI initiatives.

 

Undergraduate Students – SUCCEED has had great success with recruiting diverse undergraduate students into our interdisciplinary engineering (IDE) program. The majority of these undergraduates represent the racial and ethnic diversity of FIU, with a majority of students identified as either Latinx or Black/African American. Approximately 50% of the IDE population are female students, which is noteworthy considering the lack of gender diversity in engineering and computing fields. Additionally, all IDE undergraduate students take EGN 3910 - Human-Centered Design within Systems and Society where they examine the diverse sets of stakeholders that engineers work with and consider the needs of those stakeholders as a top-priority through research and engagement with those users. Additionally, they apply a systems engineering approach to break down the problem, identify various aspects of engineering including the social, and environmental constraints, to formulate design requirements, and generate and evaluate potential design solutions. Aspects of DEI principals are incorporated throughout the curriculum as students work on their group projects. The IDE undergraduate students have opportunities each semester to give feedback to the Undergraduate Program Director and the Senior Program Coordinator to make sure their voices are heard. Lastly, many SUCCEED undergraduate students perform research related to DEI initiatives with the SUCCEED and STEM TI fa