This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2217741. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

A Center for Equity in Engineering at an Emerging MSI
In 2020, UT Austin met the requirements to be designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and was awarded the Seal of Excelencia in recognition of a servingness commitment to support the success and community of Hispanic/Latino students and community members. As an emerging HSI, we recognize that we have much to learn with respect to how to truly serve these students.

Our vision is for broadening participation in engineering (BPE) to be the responsibility of everyone in the Cockrell School of Engineering. To support this vision, we have launched the Center for Equity in Engineering, funded by the National Science Foundation, to support Texas Engineering faculty, staff and students in doing the work of BPE as part of their regular jobs and engagement in our community. The objective of the center is to catalyze a culture change in the Cockrell School by leveraging a servingness learning organization framework to recruit, support, nurture and matriculate a diverse community of students. We focus on building an inclusive culture that provides students with opportunities to develop and hone technical and professional skills while also establishing their identities as professional engineers.

The Center for Equity in Engineering has a dedicated team comprised of Cockrell staff and faculty. Meet Our Team


Our efforts focus on undergraduate and graduate student recruitment and retention, with efforts tied to three pillars:

Learning

Accepting that our institution has much to learn, we will engage with other Minority Serving Institutions to enact our theory of change as a learning organization using the liberatory design approach. We will identify best practices and lessons learned that can be realized in Texas Engineering.

Activities

  • Site visits to Prairie View A&M and UT El Paso (complete)
  • Leadership training in outreach (not yet started)

Support

We have structured the center with the aim to empower and support the whole community in participating in intentional, transformative and transferable activities for BPE in engineering, leveraging a mini-grant program to support community member-driven efforts and a broadening participation in engineering plan to support faculty integrating BPE into their sponsored research projects.

Activities

  • Seed grants program (ongoing - learn more)
  • Supporting faculty in integrating BPE into technical engineering proposals (ongoing - learn more)

Accountability and Recognition

A key element of our plan is ensuring that broadening participation activities are appropriately valued as part of the expectations for faculty and staff work and student learning through evaluation processes, awards and student learning outcomes.

Activities

  • Supporting staff participation in BPE activities (in progress)
  • Student accountability through learning outcomes (in progress)
  • Awards for contributions to Equity in Engineering (in progress)

In addition to our efforts across the three pillars, we have activities specifically tied to undergraduate and graduate student recruitment and research.

Undergraduate Student Recruitment

Undergraduate Student Retention

  • Inclusive, accessible and intentional mentoring (in progress)
  • Updating curriculum for student success (in progress)

Graduate Student Recruitment

  • GEM GRAD lab (ongoing)
  • Graduate student visit day (in progress)
  • Mentoring program for graduate students applying to UT Austin Engineering (not yet started)

Graduate Student Retention

  • First-year graduate student peer mentorship program (ongoing)
  • Graduate student retreat (ongoing)

Research

  • Evaluation of Summer Camp Recruitment Methods and Campers' Perception of Engineering (complete - learn more)
  • Learning the Impact of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Modules in an Undergraduate Electrical Engineering Classroom (complete - learn more)
  • Lessons Learned: Faculty Search Committees' Attitudes Towards and Against Rubrics (complete - learn more)
  • Teaching Equity Through Assets-Based Journaling: Using Community Cultural Wealth to Guide Student Reflections (in progress)
  • Training Future PIs: the Effects of a Broadening Participation Seed Grants Program (in progress)
  • The Impact of Engineering Summer Camp Counseling on Students' Community Cultural Wealth and Engineering Identities (in progress)
  • Understanding the Experiences of Historically Excluded Engineering Faculty Researchers in Obtaining Federal Grant Funding (in progress)

In the News

New Center at UT Austin Strives for Equity in Engineering
First-ever DEI Seed Grants for Texas Engineering Students and Staff
Cockrell Seed Grants Aim to Broaden Participation in Engineering