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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


The mission of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming environment that recognizes, respects, and values differences based on ethnicity, race, color, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin, and sexual orientation. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee 2020-2021

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee brings together undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty together to:

Identify areas for improvement with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Define specific goals for improving in these areas.
Develop and execute action plans to achieve these goals.

A collage of the DEI committee.
Top row: Linda Weidman, Ming-Lun Lee, Narges Mohammadi, Jessica Luo; Middle row: Erin Driscoll, Abrar Rahman Protyasha, Michele Foster, Hui Wu; Bottom row: Dan Phinney, Richard Afoakwa, Evelyn Goldman, Michael Heilemann; Not picutured: Evelyn Ferwalt, Jojo Walugembe

Message from the Chair

Marvin Doyley
Marvin Doyley, Chair

As chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering one of my goals is to address our department’s diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Having been one of the only—if not the only—person in the room that looks like me as an undergraduate, graduate student, and university professor, I understand the barriers students from diverse backgrounds face. I’d like to share some initiatives we’ve undertaken to achieve our DEI goals:

  • Empower a departmental DEI committee. We’ve created a DEI committee at the department level to understand where our issues lie and will work together to address those issues. I’m proud to say that the committee is diverse and eager! We are actively updating our website to provide substantial resources around DEI, have hosted both a Black History Month and Women’s History Month panel discussion, are looking into a community-based engineering outreach program, and are working with University facilities to address bathroom access issues.
  • Diversify our department faculty. We will continue our efforts to recruit faculty from under-represented groups as faculty hiring opens up. We have invited speakers from diverse groups to our seminar series. We are also considering applying for funding from the National Institutes of Health for a training grant to help support graduate students from underrepresented groups in the hopes that they will succeed and continue as ECE faculty members.
  • Grow a pipeline to help diversify our student population at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I’ve applied for and received National Science Foundation funding for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program. This funding will enable us to bring underrepresented minority students to the department for mentored summer research projects. The hope is that these students will return to our department to do graduate work. Now that I’ve secured this funding, I am working to address the undergraduate population, perhaps via the community-based engineering outreach program that our DEI committee is considering, which would bring STEM-focused instruction to local schools.
  • Diversify our ECE Advisory Board. We have refreshed our external Advisory Board to include members from underrepresented minorities.

Message from the Dean

Wendi Heinzelman.
Wendi Heinzelman, Dean

The mission of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences is to advance the highest quality education and research in engineering and applied science through engaging experiences and environments that promote critical thinking, creativity, ethics, and leadership. This is a lofty goal and one that we must be sure to achieve. Indeed, our future capacity to transform our world through technological innovations depends on new research discoveries. It also depends on educating a diverse population of students who will be the next researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, educators, and leaders in engineering, and who have the passion to change the world.

The world needs more engineers with a diversity of backgrounds and ways of looking at the world. The world needs more engineers who care about the impact of our decisions on our environment, on our place as a global citizen, and on our future. These are the engineers who will serve as catalysts for change. In the Hajim School, we recognize that engineering training provides the tools to tackle some of the most difficult problems facing society today. Yet it is the unique skills and backgrounds of each engineer, and the ability to work together as a team with integrity, perseverance, and a commitment to the highest standards, that will lead to the next big breakthrough.


2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award - National award highlights University’s continued commitment to diversity

For the second year in a row, the University has been recognized for its efforts to support equity and inclusivity across campus. As a recipient of the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, a national honor recognizing US colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Rochester will be featured, along with 100 other recipients, in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

America’s Best Employers for Diversity

The Medical Center is included in Forbes’ annual list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity.” The list highlights 500 employers most identified by employees as being dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Those on the list have the most diverse boards, as well as the most proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives.