Diversity is essential to innovation. This sentiment bears repeating, followed by action. The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering has created and is strengthening a series of culture-building initiatives aimed at true equity for students, staff and faculty.
"My goal is for every single student, faculty and staff member to succeed here at the Jacobs School. That's what equity means to me," said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.
The Jacobs School is building on UC San Diego campus-wide initiatives aimed at dismantling systemic racism including the 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge. Additional anti-racism resources from UC San Diego are here.
In January 2021, the Jacobs School received bronze-level recognition through the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program, which is a nation-wide effort to increase diversity in engineering and computer science in higher education by ensuring that schools have best-practices and data-driven accountability in place.
UC San Diego maintains dashboards on statistics for students, faculty and staff, including breakdowns based on gender and ethnicity. These dashboards can be sorted to return statistics for the Jacobs School. They are available on the UC San Diego Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) accountability website.
The Jacobs School has made significant progress towards increasing faculty diversity in the past five years, thanks in part to the Jacobs School's Excellence hiring program. The Jacobs School has hired more than 130 new faculty into the Jacobs School over the last seven years. More than 36% of these new professors are women and/or individuals from other groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering and computer science. The Jacobs School and UC San Diego continues to build and strengthen programs to recruit and retain diverse faculty including taking on a key leadership role in the NextProf Pathfinder Program.
STUDENT AND FACULTY RACIAL EQUITY TASK FORCE
The Jacobs School launched the Jacobs School Student and Faculty Racial Equity Task Force in October 2020. Part of the mission of this task force is to listen, to take a careful pulse of the culture of the school, and to understand what is working and what is not. From there, the School will develop action plans.
RACIAL EQUITY FELLOWS
Four students with a demonstrated commitment to racial equity were selected as the inaugural cohort of Jacobs School of Engineering Racial Equity Fellows in 2020. These students, representing undergraduate and graduate perspectives from four different Jacobs School departments, have been specifically invited to serve on our Student and Faculty Racial Equity Task Force.
PHD STUDENTS: GUARANTEED TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT
The Guaranteed Transitional Support Program at the Jacobs School supports PhD students who find themselves in an unhealthy relationship with their advisor and helps them transition to a new advisor in order to successfully continue and complete their degree.
IDEA ENGINEERING STUDENT CENTER
The Jacobs School's IDEA Engineering Student Center has supported thousands of students through to graduation for more than a decade. Programs include summer prep and mentorship programs, peer-led engineering learning communities, and support for student diversity organizations. The IDEA Engineering Student Center supports all students on the challenging path of an engineering and computer science education at UC San Diego, with specific programs that build community, and provide academic and peer support for students traditionally underrepresented in engineering and computer science including Black, Latinx and Native American students, women, first generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and low-income students.
Student organizations are a critical aspect of social and educational life for many undergraduates at the Jacobs School. Starting in 2020-2021, all Jacobs School student organizations are required to submit a plan for how their organization will increase the diversity and improve the culture in their organization in the Fall quarter. The student organizations will then report on the execution and results of their plan in the Spring quarter.
The Jacobs School community is engaged in a wide range of recruiting efforts aimed at diversifying the applicant pool for both graduate and undergraduate students. Summer programs for incoming students serve to build community aim to increase retention of students. Programs such as COSMOS introduce high-school students to the opportunities of STEM education in general, and the Jacobs School in particular.
The Jacobs School is building a cross-section of culture-building programs and activities aimed at achieving equity for all students, faculty and staff at the Jacobs School of Engineering including the Jacobs School Research Ethics Initiative, and the Anthropology, Performance, and Technology Program (APT).
A COMMUNITY APPROACH TO EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
The Jacobs School is dedicated to improving the climate for all students, faculty and staff. Efforts are underway across the School, at all levels. With critical input and guidance from Black students and other students of color, for example, Christine Alvarado and Karen L. Christman, who are both professors and Associate Deans at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, led the creation of the Student and Faculty Racial Equity Task Force. The task force also includes two student affairs staff members, one who works with graduate students and the other undergraduates; a representative from the Jacobs School's IDEA Engineering Student Center; a faculty representative from each department; and the Jacobs School Faculty Equity Advisor.
"I am committed to seeing this through and doing what’s right. One first step to addressing equity issues is to really listen," said Pisano. "It's unacceptable to be blind to the issues and claim to be faultless. Every engineer knows you can't solve a problem without first acknowledging it."