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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Mechanical Engineering's work on diversity, equity, and inclusion is well under way.  Since the June 1, 2020 “Message of Support”, signed by over 100 ME faculty, staff, and students, we have been researching, thinking, and collaborating to forge a new pathway forward.

New AY22 Resource for Faculty: 
Inclusive Course Design  Checklist

There is a growing imperative for universities and faculty to create an inclusive learning environment that not only acknowledges the diverse needs of the learners but also focuses on creating meaningful learning experiences for all students, including the underrepresented and the marginalized students. In addition to enhancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in the classrooms, recent studies have also shown that inclusive learning environments lead to better student outcomes, retention, and engagement; the lack of such an environment acts as barriers to student learning outcomes. In acknowledging this need, faculty have been keen on creating an inclusive learning environment for students but often lack an understanding of how to integrate inclusive principles into their classrooms.

To address some of these challenges, a checklist has been developed to provide faculty with a framework of inclusive teaching practices, along with some easy-to-use resources, strategies, and examples. With input from several students, educators, and instructors, this checklist is primarily designed for Mechanical Engineering (ME) faculty with an emphasis on aspects such as design and laboratories but can be widely applied to other engineering courses as well.

This course design checklist brings a holistic approach to creating inclusive classrooms by encouraging instructors to proactively incorporate inclusive principles in various aspects of their course design (e.g., syllabi, content, assessment, pedagogy, laboratories, etc.) that help make students feel included or a sense of belonging.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee and Sounding Board

The DEI Committee is identifying specific actions and activities to create a more just and equitable ME community around, for example, student and faculty recruitment and retention. DEI Committee members will engage with and support student organizations promoting community and inclusion, participate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activities across Stanford, and regularly update the broader ME community on Committee discussions and actions. Formation of the committee has been just a first step, and an important role of this initial Committee will be to establish long-term practices to ensure the continued viability of the Committee itself and an ongoing process for departmental improvement. The Committee meets bi-weekly, and members are expected to commit 2-4 hours/week to this effort on an ongoing basis. Committee members are expected to participate for at least one year. Initial members of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee are shown below.  The DEI Committee meets every other Friday at 1 PM:  10/2/20, 10/16/20, 10/30/20, 11/13/20, 1/8/21, 1/22/21, 2/5/21, 2/19/21, 3/5/21, 3/19/21, 4/2/21, 4/16/21, and 4/30/21.  Contact Co-Chairs Prof. Sheri Sheppard or Prof. Arun Majumdar if you are interested in attending, or if you would like to recommend a discussion topic.

The DEI Committee also holds a bi-weekly Tag-up meeting. The goal of the Mechanical Engineering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Tag-up meetings is for the DEI Committee to connect with the broader community. The committee will provide some updates on their work, and hopes to receive any feedback, concerns, or questions that the community members may have. During the AY21 Spring quarter, these Tag-up meetings will take place from 2:30PM to 3:30PM PST on the following Fridays: 4/23/21, 5/7/21, 5/21/21, and 6/7/21. The Zoom meeting link and specific agenda information is available to the Stanford community.

We envision the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Sounding Board as a larger body, also with representation across the department, that gives periodic feedback to the DEI Committee on its activities and initiatives and helps to engage the department as a whole in this process. The DEI Committee will provide quarterly progress reports/presentations to the Sounding Board, and the Sounding Board will provide advice and feedback to the DEI Committee. The Sounding Board will ensure that the DEI committee considers a broad range of perspectives and experiences. Membership on the DEI Sounding Board involves a smaller time commitment (1-2 meetings per quarter), than the DEI Committee, but its role is equally important.

We envision the DEI Committee and Sounding Board as embodying the wide variety of opinions and perspectives of our department; a membership of creative problem-solvers who voice their ideas and concerns with respect, listen with empathy, and are eager to learn from each other and make progress in addressing these important issues.

Student, staff and postdoc involvement will be critical to the success of the DEI Committee and the D&I Sounding Board.  The self-nomination process closed on August 31, 2020.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee members

Nathaniel Agharese
Nathaniel Agharese
Sean Follmer
Sean Follmer
Tasha Jackson D&I
Tasha Jackson
Tita Katjanapas
Smita (Tita) Kanjanapas
Monroe Kennedy
Monroe Kennedy
Marc Levenston
Marc Levenston
Arun Majumdar D&I
Arun Majumdar (Co-Chair)
Allison Okamura
Allison Okamura
Ciera Okere
Emilio Reyes
Emilio Reyes
Amelie Schaefer
Amelie Schaefer
Sheri Sheppard D&I
Sheri Sheppard (Co-Chair)
Ayodele Thomas
Ayodele Thomas    

Student-led Diversity & Inclusion Activities with major participation from ME Graduate students

Stanford Exposure to Research & Graduate Education (SERGE) – co-founded by a Black ME coterm, expanded and maintained by other Black ME graduate students by way of Black Engineering Graduate Student Association (BEGSA). Over the last two years, two Black SERGE participants have matriculated into the ME Department.

Learn more about SERGE in this 11/18/20 article.

Womxn of Color in Engineering (WOCE) – WOCE (pronounced “woke”) is an SoE student-led initiative launched in 2019 and facilitated by a Black ME PhD student that seeks to create opportunities to gather Womxn* of Color graduate students in the School of Engineering by supporting year-long student-led programmatic efforts and collaborations across campus. Anyone of any gender and from all backgrounds who supports these goals is welcome to attend events and join the group.

Other Diversity & Inclusion Committees at Stanford


Biosciences Commitment to Justice & Action

Chemical Engineering


Computer Science Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Chair:  Prof. Moses Charikar

Electrical Engineering

Management Science and Engineering

Stanford Medicine Diversity & Inclusion

Stanford Medicine Diversity Cabinet

Founding Chair:  Prof. Risa Wechsler

MAE Seminar - Please join and nominate!

Our department is participating in an initiative which launched in Autumn 2020: “Future Leaders in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: Celebrating Diversity and Innovation”. This nationwide online seminar series highlights research contributions by graduate students and postdocs from groups that are underrepresented among Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering faculties. In addition to providing exposure and mentorship opportunities to the speakers, the seminar series will create a network among underrepresented students and faculty allies in MAE departments across the country. To nominate a speaker, to volunteer as a faculty mentor, or to join the email list for future announcements, please visit MAEFutureLeaders. We encourage nominations or self-nominations of URM grad students and postdocs on a rolling basis.


Teaching Corner

Coming soon:  practices that promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom and beyond

Like our efforts on this important topic,
this web site is a work in progress.

Comments?  Questions?  Suggestions?  
We'd love to hear from you!

Diversity & Inclusion Committee Feedback form (SUNetID required)