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Diversity Plan

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Our vision is to create an inclusive and diverse community that allows our students, faculty and staff to create, discover and disseminate knowledge within our discipline, that benefits our region, our state, our nation and the world.  


The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is committed to creating and sustaining a multiculturally competent student body, faculty, and staff. We value diversity as a strength critical to our educational mission. We expect every member of our community to contribute to an inclusive and respectful culture for all, in classrooms, work environments, and at campus events. 


The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) declared 2014-15 a “year of action in diversity,” and challenged the Deans of U.S. schools of engineering to take affirmative and meaningful steps to increase opportunity for women and underrepresented students. ASEE recognized, as does the University at Buffalo, that we still have work to do to significantly increase the participation of women, African-American, Latino/a and Native American students in engineering.

Our Dean Liesl Folks enthusiastically, and without hesitation, coauthored the Engineering Deans Council Diversity Initiative Letter and we are developing strategies to increase diversity among underrepresented groups by increasing enrollment among talented students from a multitude of backgrounds.

A diverse faculty and student body is a necessary component of a quality education for all students because diversity:

  • Enriches the educational experience by providing students with the opportunity to learn from individuals whose life chances, views, and aptitudes are different from their own.
  • Promotes personal growth and a healthy society by challenging stereotyped preconceptions, encouraging critical thinking, and helping students learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.
  • Strengthens communities and the workplace by preparing students for citizenship in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society, and fostering mutual respect and teamwork.
  • Enhances economic competitiveness by effectively developing and using the talents of all members of society.

Strategic Goals

  • Recruit talented and diverse student applicants (undergraduate and graduate).
  • Support and nurture current students, including students who fall within our diversity categories (undergraduate and graduate).
  • Foster an alumni community that values diversity.
  • Support diversity in faculty and staff hiring, promotion and tenure.
  • Engage the Buffalo-Niagara community through research, scholarship and service.
  • Publicly celebrate diversity.

Strategic Plans and Strategic Doing

Our diversity plan makes use of institutional data and measures the school’s progress annually. We are committed to improving diversity in all forms to achieve a minimum of 30 percent female students and 12 percent underrepresented minorities of the incoming freshman class by 2020. 

As suggested in the ASEE Diversity Deans Letter, we will continue to develop our plan with input from national organizations that are committed to diversity in engineering and measure our success by an increase in the matriculation, retention and graduation of underrepresented students.

We support our students.

  • Recruitment: Recruit greater numbers of applicants, undergraduate and graduate, from underrepresented groups into the student body.
  • Academic Support and Retention: Retain and graduate greater numbers of students from underrepresented groups.
  • Graduate Student Support: Offer programs and services to promote graduate student:
    • Retention and degree completion
    • Mentee relationships with faculty
    • Professional development
    • Career preparation
  • Post-Graduate Support: Provide a network of support for SEAS alumni, relative to their:
    • Career interests
    • Desire for lifelong learning and engagement
    • Desire for social interactions with peers
    • Willingness to provide services and/or support to strengthen and advance the school

We support our faculty and staff.

  • Faculty Recruitment: Recruit greater numbers from underrepresented groups into the faculty and staff to expose students to a wider range of ideas, perspectives and approaches to teaching and research.
  • Promotion and Tenure: Support diversity in faculty and staff hiring, promotion and tenure.
  • Promoting a Culture of Inclusiveness: Members of the faculty must work together to promote a climate of inclusiveness among themselves to foster interdisciplinary scholarship collaboration. Faculty must be welcoming to staff and to students, inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Community Engagement: Engage the diverse Buffalo-Niagara community through research, scholarship and service.

We support inclusion.

  • Publicly Celebrating Diversity: Develop a public image for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that conveys a message of diversity.
  • Strengthening the K-12 Pipeline: Develop programs that engage K-12 students, especially women and underrepresented students, to stimulate and support an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and encourage students to pursue higher education.
  • Research Leadership: Harness the school’s research centers, and student and faculty research endeavors to create and innovate in support of diversity, including partnerships between UB and minority serving institutions.

Communications and Leadership

Rajan Batta

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Diversity

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

208 Davis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0972


Letitia Thomas

Director for STEM Diversity Programs

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

107 Furnas Hall

Phone: (716) 645-3071