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Recruitment of Inclusive Champions: Diversifying Engineering Faculty

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2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Race/Ethnicity Track - Technical Session V

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Ibironke O. Lawal Virginia Commonwealth University

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Ibironke Lawal is a Professor and Science & Engineering Collections Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University who came to VCU in 2000 and has been involved in shaping the diversity landscape since 2006. I was chair of the VCU Libraries (VCUL) Diversity Committee that wrote the VCUL Diversity Plan and the unit Diversity Plan, which follows the guidelines of the university's Grand Plan as stated in our strategic plan. I was a participant in the inaugural cohort of Recruitment Inclusive Champions (RIC), an initiative of VCU to recruit inclusive excellence.

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Recruitment Inclusive Champions: Diversifying Engineering Faculty Ibironke Lawal Virginia Commonwealth University

The rapidly changing demographics in the United States is making it imperative for higher education to transform its diversity landscape. The Census Bureau estimates that within the next 20 years, United States will be multicultural more than she has ever been. In 1991, Wunsch and Chattergy predicted that the face of higher education would be drastically different by the year 2000. We are living that reality now. In this mix is a sleuth of international students and faculty that have increased exponentially in the past thirty years. Diversity has been a subject of several studies though the majority has been in the area of diversifying the student body. But a diverse student body needs a faculty body that reflects the racial and ethnic characteristics of the student body. Much has been done in K-12 to attract students to choose STEM disciplines. One example is the Million Women Mentor, an organization of women in key positions in academia, corporations or government that mentor potential female K-12 protégés interested in pursuing a scientific or technical career. Efforts have also been directed at attracting women into faculty ranks. What is being done about other diverse faculty? It is a well-established fact that faculty interaction is important to student success. It is more so if the students have faculty that they can identify with and who can serve as their role models. In this context, institutions have to be proactive in their recruitment efforts to attract, appoint and retain diverse faculty, which is as important as craving student success. This is why Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) developed a strategic plan to make recruitment and retention of diverse faculty one of the main themes of VCU 2020, VCU Quest for Excellence. Under this theme, Office of Faculty Recruitment & Retention (OFR) Division of Inclusive Excellence established a new initiative. It is called Recruitment Inclusive Champions (RIC). The objective of the program is making sure all recruitment efforts across all units, including the School of Engineering pay attention to diversity and inclusion. I will describe the planning, implementation and follow-up of this program. Tentative table of contents of this paper is as follows: What is diversity? Why is diversity necessary among faculty ranks? How do we build a diverse faculty body in Engineering? Developing inclusive excellence in engineering through strategic recruitment, onboarding, and retention Eliminating unconscious bias and cognitive errors in the recruitment process of diverse faculty Training faculty in cultural awareness and competence Mentoring minority students in Engineering to become faculty Mentoring young engineering faculty Recruitment Inclusive Champions: An initiative of Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014-2015 Conclusion

Lawal, I. O. (2018, April), Recruitment of Inclusive Champions: Diversifying Engineering Faculty Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia.

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