Diversity and Inclusiveness Framework

At Smith Engineering, we know that we cannot realize our greatest achievements without the ability for each of us to bring our complete selves without hesitation to every aspect of our work and learning. The ability to cultivate an environment that supports this is inherent to our core mission, vision and ultimate success.

We recognize that there are barriers that prevent some members from thriving to their highest levels of success. That is why we are committed to continuously challenge established norms that discriminate, exclude or oppress individuals or groups throughout our Faculty.

We are committed to the creation of an environment where everyone feels welcome, accepted and respected. This means actively fostering the conditions in which everyone has the opportunity to participate fully and everyone’s talents are valued and celebrated. We recognize that while an inclusive group is by definition diverse, not all diverse groups are inclusive. Smith Engineering has chosen to be both diverse and inclusive, and is acting to effectively drive real change within our community.

Working towards inclusion takes an active and ongoing commitment to learning and unlearning. That is why in our Faculty there has been a great deal of listening, learning and reflection to better understand the EDI needs of our community. We are now mobilizing to initiate lasting change.

The Smith Engineering EDI framework will guide the formation of partnerships, programs and policies, and serve as a standard by which we will define and assess the progress of our actions aimed at eliminating inequity, discrimination, racism and harmful bias in our community.

Our Guiding Principles to Action:

We unreservedly celebrate the differences of our members.

Being aware of our positions of privilege and/or oppression can inform and drive actions that will foster a more inclusive community that addresses inequities existing on campus and elsewhere in our Faculty. Our actions shall be built on a basis of value for each member of our community.

We all have the capabilities of creating a strong sense of community and belonging for everyone in our Faculty but this comes with enormous responsibilities. We are beginning with the practice of self-awareness of our respective assumptions and biases, so that our culture will now be one of connection that shows support and mutual respect for all.

There is a shared accountability amongst staff, faculty, alumni and students to enact actual positive change.

Education and knowledge sharing are the foundation of our ability to make lasting impacts in our community. We know that it is only by learning that we can validate other people’s emotions and experiences; recognize when our experiences are relevant or when to step back so others can share the space and their own thoughts. That way, we will transform discomfort into positive actions.

To promote our efforts to increase and support communities traditionally underrepresented in engineering, the Faculty has developed focus areas that have been summarized in the four key high level priorities. We are bringing together key stakeholders to champion each of these primary focus areas to better define our objectives and specific actions that we will implement. The Framework will be released in the coming months and will outline the Faculty’s fulsome commitments and actions.

Building Community

We are committed to creating a positive working and educational experience that is characterized by respect, trust and treating people equitably. Smith Engineering will work with our many stakeholders to educate and connect members of our community with the goal to unite our community members, share experiences and create an understanding of allyship and unity.

Student Access and Success

Smith Engineering strives to be the school of choice for engineering education. To achieve this objective, we need to critically evaluate the activities impacting admissions, academic success, belonging and profession success for all of our students. The goal of the priority is to evaluate the barriers that are impacting the ability of individuals to achieve their full potential and create programs and services that specifically address the diverse needs of all of our students.

Institutional Effectiveness

We understand that, to be truly effective in creating a diverse and inclusive environment, we need to rethink our processes and decision-making frameworks. This will involve deconstructing many of our practices and policies to be replaced with methods that integrate diverse and inclusive priorities into these foundations. We are building a Faculty-wide Diversity and Belonging Council (DBC) that will provide a cohesive and united championship for EDI to discuss structural and cultural barriers and develop a method of assessment and accountability through data collection and analysis. The Faculty is in the process of working with key stakeholders through the various working groups who will lead the further evaluation of these needs.

Diversity and Belonging

True excellence can only be achieved and maintained when all voices and histories are shared, heard and reflected. Our aim is to have equitable representation within our community and promote a sense of belonging for each of our members that translates into influence and innovation. To increase the diversity of student, faculty and staff populations across all areas of our Faculty through a series of deliberate and transparent actions aimed at attracting and retaining top talent, more opportunities for members of underrepresented populations to hold leadership roles and positions of influence; promote/encourage diversity and collaboration in research; provide learning opportunities for research fellowships and post-doctoral fellows.