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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee Communications

ME DEI Committee Meeting Minutes (Intranet link)

September 3, 2020 - MAE Seminar: Please join and nominate!

Our department is participating in a new initiative launching 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 https://sites.google.com/view/maeleaders. We encourage nominations or self-nominations of URM grad students and postdocs by September 15, 2020.

September 1, 2020 - Self-Nomination for the D&I Committee and Sounding Board is now closed

Thank you to all who stepped forward with a self-nomination to serve on the ME D&I committee and/or sounding board. 

The Selection Team 

  • Lourdes V. Andrade, Director of Equity & Inclusion Initiatives, School of Engineering
  • Prof. Bryan Brown, Graduate School of Education
  • Prof. Ellen Kuhl, Mechanical Engineering Department Chair
  • Prof. Arun Majumdar, Mechanical Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
  • Greses Pérez-Jöhnk, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Education
  • Prof. Sheri Sheppard, Mechanical Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair

is currently reviewing the nominations and is targeting to get back with people by the beginning of the new quarter.  The interest among students, postdocs and staff in being involved in the Committee/Sounding Board efforts is inspiring and heartening.  These efforts are what we make them.

 

August 13, 2020 - Invitation to Self-Nominate for the D&I Committee and/or Sounding Board

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford invites all members of the Mechanical Engineering Community to participate in the development, implementation and continual improvement of initiatives to create a diverse, just, and inclusive environment for all, with a specific focus on addressing the effects of systemic anti-Black racism on our community. We encourage participation by undergraduates majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Product Design or Biomechanical Engineering, graduate students in departmental M.S. or Ph.D. programs, postdoctoral fellows, and staff (academic, research, technical and administrative) who are committed to understanding historical and current roots of racism, and working to change the systems that perpetuate that racism. We seek self-nominations for two important groups:

The Mechanical Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The D&I Committee will identify specific actions and activities to create a more just and equitable ME community around, for example, student and faculty recruitment and retention. D&I 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 is 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 will meet bi-weekly, and members will be 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 steps in the formation of the D&I Committee involved appointment of Sheri Sheppard and Arun Majumdar as co-chairs and recruitment of faculty and staff participants. As we begin this journey, we seek self-nominations from students, postdocs, and additional staff who wish to join this core departmental committee.

The Mechanical Engineering D&I Sounding Board

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

We envision the D&I 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.

Self-nominations to either or both groups should be submitted by Monday August 31 (11:59 pm PT) via the ME D&I Committee & Sounding Board Self-Nomination web-form.  The form asks nominees to describe:
• their motivation for serving on the D&I Committee and/or Sounding Board,
• any previous experience or training related to diversity and inclusion,
• what they hope to contribute to the Committee or Sounding Board,
• what measures of success would look like in creating a more diverse, just, inclusive and equitable Mechanical Engineering community, and
• any questions (or concerns) about the ME D&I Committee or Sounding Board.

We anticipate selecting 4-6 students for the D&I Committee to ensure that undergraduate and graduate students in the department's multiple programs have voices related to the Committee's central work on equity. Student participation will be recognized with an honorarium. Nominations will be reviewed to select student and staff representation to ensure that the ME D&I and Sounding Board teams broadly represent the experiences in the department. Nominations will be reviewed by a panel consisting of:

  • Lourdes V. Andrade, Director of Equity & Inclusion Initiatives, School of Engineering
  • Prof. Bryan Brown, Graduate School of Education
  • Prof. Ellen Kuhl, Mechanical Engineering Department Chair
  • Prof. Arun Majumdar, Mechanical Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
  • Greses Pérez-Jöhnk, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Education
  • Prof. Sheri Sheppard, Mechanical Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair

If you have any questions or concerns about the self-nomination process please contact Committee member Professor Marc Levenston levenston@stanford.edu.

 

 

August 2, 2020 - Formation of the D&I Committee and next steps

Dear Stanford Mechanical Engineering Community:

The ME Community came together June 11th for a Town Hall meeting to discuss racial injustice, anti-Black racism and to share experiences of Black students and staff in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford.

It took enormous courage for many in our Black community to speak. It has led to broader acknowledgement that we cannot let this moment pass, and that we need to identify and address anti-Black racism and bias, as well as discrimination and bias more generally, in departmental interactions and policies.

Following the Town Hall meeting and discussions thereafter, the ME Department formed a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee, which we have the honor & responsibility to co-chair. We acknowledge that too much time has passed since June 11th in communicating with you about actions that have been initiated; we were reminded of this last week when a group of ME students sent us, and the faculty-membership of the D&I committee, a powerful email asking for transparency and communications of committee activities.

With this message we want to initiate that communication to share with you a few items of the committee's activities. 

We are aware of the fact there is no quick fix to the problems of anti-Black racism and diversity and inclusion, broadly.  There is a long road ahead of us which we must take jointly and openly to collectively understand the experiences and the causes of anti-Black racism, be open to new ideas and solutions to addressing the problems, implement action plans to address them, and develop criteria to evaluate their success. 

We have to start somewhere, and as a first step, we want to share with you the preliminary steps we have taken and what are some of the immediate next steps.

Our most urgent activity is related to committee membership.  We need to have students and staff join the D&I committee; these voices are essential to success, and we are in the final stages of drafting the "Call for Self-Nominations."  Key to transparency in selection, we are working with some of our students to develop criteria for identifying the students who could join the D&I committee.  We will soon be sending out an open invitation to students and staff to self-nominate themselves. Finally, we also plan to include someone professionally trained to address racial injustice to be part of the committee.

While the D&I committee will be of limited size, its work will require a broader range of voices and perspectives for its deliberations and goal setting. Therefore, we will form a Sounding Board as well, which will play advisory and accountability roles to the D&I committee.

The D&I committee, composed of students, staff and faculty, needs to first listen and understand the experiences and solicit ideas for potential solutions. This will require many meetings with all our stakeholders, and we plan to share the schedule with all of you. 

The faculty members in this committee have so far reached out to other departments within Stanford and peer institutions to find out what others have done.  We plan to have these cross-committee interactions on a regular basis, and explore if we could utilize and adapt best practices that others may have generated, and vice versa.

Finally, all of this information will soon be on the ME Department website, which will be updated on a regular basis to keep you informed and engaged.

We thank you for your engagement and patience, and we look forward to working with you in the future on this critically important issue.  We have every faith that we can make "Mechanical Engineering" at Stanford a place where all students, staff and faculty flourish, and are committed to eliminating anti-Black racism.  We have hard work ahead of us in setting short-term and long-term goals, and getting about the work to accomplish these goals.  We can and have to do this.

Please feel free to share any thoughts, questions, concerns or suggestions with us via the D&I Committee Feedback Form.

Sincerely,
Sheri & Arun
on behalf of the D&I Committee