Engineering teams solve complex problems, and complex problems require diverse and inclusive perspectives. Smith Engineering must prepare its students to graduate ready to tackle grand challenges – which will require inclusive, equitable, and expansive thinking that welcomes all backgrounds and perspectives.

We will build on our exemplary support services and current successes we are showing in the recruitment and retention of women students and faculty. Recruitment efforts to diversify the existing and future student body are already underway through initiatives such as the Indigenous Futures in Engineering program, First Generation Pathways initiative, institutional and student outreach activities, and others.

Re-thinking engineering education, and what it means to be an engineer, means ensuring that all students feel seen and represented. We understand that equity is not a goal to be reached, but a mindset of permanent evolution that increases our breadth of compassion and understanding continuously.

All our preceding initiatives drive toward this end: reframing research as multidisciplinary and comprehensive. Recalibrating our curriculum and learning and research spaces to foster inquiry and curiosity across disciplines. These are goals in and of themselves, but also further the effort to make engineering a field that can adapt and serve social projects that are embraced by a diverse group of current and future students.

Smith Engineering recruits top talent to our student body, in Canada and around the world. The Faculty needs to become even more competitive and attractive for curious students, both undergraduate and graduate, from diverse backgrounds. Our hiring practices must shift as well, to ensure a more diverse student body is supported by greater diversity and equity among our staff and faculty.

Objective 7: Recruitment and diversity. Attract and enable access for intellectually curious and motivated domestic and international students from all backgrounds.

  • 7.1 Modify recruitment and admissions procedures to admit students not only on their secondary school grades but also on their commitment to hard work, their strength of character and their desire to make a social impact through engineering.
  • 7.2 Increase access to engineering at Queen’s for historically under-represented communities by developing new bursaries and scholarships.
  • 7.3 Mobilize the voices of students from equity-seeking communities in outreach, communication and marketing campaigns and through the Queen’s Equity Ambassadors program.
  • 7.4 Develop academic pathway programs, prioritizing the creation of pathways at high schools and colleges in non-traditional recruitment areas, remote locations, as well as for international students who live both overseas and in Canada.

Objective 8. Support and inclusion. Provide all students with holistic support and intentional inclusion.

  • 8.1 Enhance the student support system for both academic and well-being that supports undergraduate and graduate students, and particularly ensures that students from diverse backgrounds are set up for success.
  • 8.2 Build off the success of the Indigenous Futures in Engineering program by using it as a template to develop programming to support other equity-seeking groups.
  • 8.3 Make community inclusion more intentional by embracing and understanding different experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and identities, and empower students of all backgrounds to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills within and outside the classroom.
  • 8.4 Partner with the Engineering Society to create the change in environment necessary to ensure students from under-represented groups feel a strong sense of belonging to the Smith Engineering community.
  • 8.5 Commit to understanding and incorporating ways of knowing from nearby Indigenous nations, such as holistic framing of what makes a project necessary and what decolonizing curriculum means in an engineering context.

Objective 9: Leverage diversity and inclusion among faculty, staff, and senior administrators.

  • 9.1 Implement regular education and training sessions for all faculty, staff, and senior administration in equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization.
  • 9.2 Incorporate equity, diversity, and inclusion criteria into every phase of the hiring process, including job posting, the composition of hiring committees, interview questions and other measures of candidate excellence.
  • 9.3 Embed competency in equity, diversity, and inclusion as a requirement for all faculty, staff, and senior administrator positions.
Engineeing for Everyone double-e identity

Many of the Strategic Actions detailed in this theme relate to our Engineering for Everyone initiative. Launched in 2021, Engineering for Everyone is how Smith Engineering is working toward a more diverse and inclusive community – to make our learning and working environment better, and to advance the practice of engineering.