Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our entire community benefits when individuals from different personal, cultural, and disciplinary perspectives are working together. Increasing the diversity of our faculty and students is fundamental to our mission. It improves and accelerates the rate and impact of our academics, research, and reputation.
We seek to develop a diverse and highly motivated pool of engineering researchers, students and future graduates that will work together to address major societal challenges.
Guidelines to Write an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement for Faculty Candidates
The equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) statement is an opportunity for a candidate to demonstrate a commitment to excellence in research and education through advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The EDI statement can be viewed as similar to the “Broader Impacts” section that is required in a National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal.
increase in underrepresented students in engineering since 2013
increase in the number of women in engineering since 2013
Diversity-Focused Organizations and Programs
As a member of the Academic Research Leadership Network, we have access to a wide network of resources dedicated to creating opportunities in government, industry, and academia for people typically underrepresented in these fields. The network creates collaborative opportunities, prepares underrepresented minorities for leadership and success in the engineering field, and increases participation in these fields.
Accelerating Women and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs (AWARE) is a collaboration among the College of Engineering, the Office of Technology Management, and the EnterpriseWorks incubator at the University of Illinois Research Park, and is being funded by a $100,000 award from the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurship training, counseling, and networking. It includes an entrepreneur-in-residence familiar with the needs of those from underrepresented backgrounds, small proof-of-concept grants, and targeted mentorship, training, and networking opportunities.
Graduate students from across the college address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the Engineering Graduate Student Advisory Committee (EGSAC). In particular, the EGSAC Diversity Advocate team works with individual departments to build a more inclusive community among engineering graduate students—providing input on and building diversity and inclusion initiatives within the departments.
The Grainger College of Engineering Diversity Committee is made up of faculty, students, and academic professionals. They advise the dean and college and departmental leadership on programs for recruiting underrepresented students, hiring practices, strategic planning, and ways of fostering a more inclusive climate within the college.
The Academic Redshirt in Science and Engineering (ARISE) Scholars program prepares talented students from the state of Illinois to succeed in Engineering at Illinois. Up to 25 students are named ARISE scholars every year, giving them an extra year to get ready for traditional freshman-year courses. The program includes a customized curriculum, individual faculty mentors, tutoring, and career services.
Illinois Connections in Engineering (ICE) is a rigorous program for students from underrepresented populations designed to assist students' adjustment to college so they begin the school year with a running start. Preparatory courses in math, chemistry, physics, CAD modeling, and computer programming give the students a sense of the level and pace of university coursework and develop a skill set of academic strategies for success.
The mission of the IDEA Institute is to support scholarship, innovation, collaboration, and leadership in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at all levels: faculty, staff, students, and K-12 outreach/public engagement.
The Morrill Engineering Program (MEP) works to attract and retain qualified students from underrepresented groups in engineering by providing academic support, scholarships, community, and other services. Activities such as the annual MEP Awards Banquet in late spring recognize the academic and leadership achievements of the students in the program. Attendance is generally around 350 students, alumni, corporate representatives, and College faculty and staff.
Grainger Engineering encourages prospective graduate students from under-represented communities to apply to attend the Multicultural Engineering Recruitment for Graduate Education (MERGE) diversity recruiting event. This event provides a great opportunity to learn more about the exciting research projects at Illinois, to meet faculty and current students, and to learn how to prepare a competitive graduate application. MERGE brings promising students to campus for an all expenses paid, in-depth view of the outstanding programs and facilities available for graduate study in engineering at Illinois.
The National Society of Black Engineers increases the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. NSBE develops its membership into responsible professional leaders through community service, pipeline development (pre-college outreach), and the promotion of STEM. NSBE is dedicated to creating the best engineers for a brighter future.
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) is dedicated to the development of LGBTQIA+ students in STEM fields. It organizes social, technology, professional development, and networking events.
At both the undergraduate level, the Society of Women Engineers, and the graduate level, GradSWE, provide mentoring relationships and professional development opportunities for a diverse network of women engineers on campus. SWE is the largest engineering organization on campus and also offers a variety of opportunities to engage with leaders in academia, industry, and government at the regional, national, and international level.
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize their fullest potential and impacts the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. SHPE's vision is a world where Hispanics are highly valued and influential as the leading innovators, scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
The SURGE fellowship program is for incoming graduate students from underrepresented communities planning to complete a doctoral program. SURGE is a five-year fellowship program, providing fellows a full fellowship in the first year and a partial fellowship plus their departmental research or teaching assistantship in years two through five. Incoming graduate students are nominated for this fellowship by the department that has offered admission.
The Grainger College of Engineering participates in the Sloan Scholars and Illinois Sloan Scholars Fellowship Program. This fellowship is for incoming doctoral students from underrepresented communities. Sloan scholars will be funded through a fellowship and an assistantship while completing their doctoral degree. In addition, scholars will be carefully mentored toward successful completion of their Ph.D. and job placement, along with participating in a series of professional development opportunities. We highly recommend prospective students apply to their department by December 1 to be considered for the Sloan Scholars and Illinois Sloan Scholars Fellowship Program.
Women in Engineering (WIE) provides a welcome and supportive environment for women students in the Grainger College of Engineering. Companies participate in programs to recruit, engage, and retain female students by providing funds for scholarships and other programs, serving as mentors to female students, and participating in WIE activities and events. Some companies sponsor or participate in Freshman Camp, the WIE freshman orientation program. This program, which takes place in August before classes start, enables the female students to get acquainted with one another and to develop a supportive community.