Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) means everyone has equitable access and opportunity based on the principle that all our students, staff and faculty have a right to an educational experience free from social barriers.

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JEDI means redesigning our hiring, admissions, retention and support processes to remove structural as well as individual biases.

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JEDI means being transparent in communicating our progress, as well as where we need to improve.

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JEDI means truly committing and taking action to create an inclusive and diverse community—one that will enrich engineering education and empower all of us to achieve our goals.

Action Items for Change

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While diversity and inclusion in all its forms has always been part of our core values, recent crises sharply exposed the disparities in our society and how continued systemic racism and bias in our country obstruct equal opportunity. We needed to do more to ensure an equitable educational experience for all our engineers and scientists.

So Dean Kemper Lewis and a team of 40 faculty, staff and students across the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), co-led by Letitia Thomas, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Christine Human, Associate Dean for Accreditation and Student Affairs, formed the SEAS Working Group for Action on Racial Equity. 

The working group reviewed all aspects of the school’s current policies and procedures, from faculty and staff recruitment to student support and K-12 outreach, resulting in a comprehensive report and the following action items for change:

  • Recruit and retain more students of color
  • Remove bias in student policies and procedures
  • Increase support for students of color and students from communities that have been historically marginalized
  • Hire more diverse faculty and staff
  • Establish inclusive pedagogy and curriculum
  • Infuse discussion of social and cultural impacts of engineering and technology into our teaching and research
  • Increase outreach programming to students from the City of Buffalo
  • Provide diversity training and workshops
  • Form a standing SEAS for JEDI Committee to ensure continued progress


JEDI Initiatives

Student Initiatives

The Engineering Design and Innovation (EDI) Scholars Program, funded by an NSF S-STEM grant, provides low-income students the opportunity to be part of a hands-on, community-based cohort of scholars who will learn how to put social justice theory into practice in STEM fields. As EDI scholars, students will solve complex societal problems through engineering and computing projects. 

Students need leadership skills to address society's largest and most challenging problems in the natural and built environments. The SEAS Leadership Development Program provides mentorship and professional development to SEAS BIPOC students who are currently engaged in a research project with a faculty advisor. Students who earn the fellowship also receive a mentoring session with the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, focusing on the development of the student as a researcher, mentor and leader. 

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the SUNY LSAMP program seeks to diversify the STEM workforce by significantly increasing the number of students successfully completing degree programs in STEM disciplines. Particular emphasis is placed in support of groups that historically have been underrepresented in STEM such as African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Pacific Islanders.

This campus-wide, student-centric program was created to enhance the education of the next generation of scholars and researchers, with a particular emphasis on diversity and inclusion in PhD programs.

The highly selective Women's Empowerment Scholarship aims to increase the percentage of undergraduate women in engineering and computer science programs. Women can apply in their first year and the award is a non-tuition scholarship that can be used for costs such as housing, student fees, or experiential learning opportunities, including study abroad. Funds are awarded annually over four years as long as the recipient remains a full-time student in an engineering or computer science major with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

Student Organizations

Faculty/Staff Initiatives

Our Engineering Justice Across the Curriculum (EJAC) initiative, led by a cross-disciplinary team of faculty in SEAS, connects students from computer science, engineering science, and engineering design to their social settings. EJAC challenges us to understand our social impact, address baked-in biases, and build systems that not only are good but that do good. 

The EJAC Faculty Development Micro-grant offers support and compensation for SEAS faculty to develop and implement curricular choices (lessons, units, or courses) that respond to the need for inclusive pedagogies and train engineers to connect the social impact of their work to the technical aspects. 

The Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Research Micro-grant supports researchers, including staff, postdocs, and graduate students, whose research and scholarship connect with our JEDI values and commitments.

The PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth) program aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY including underrepresented minority faculty in general and women faculty of all races in STEM fields.

The Visiting Future Faculty Program (VITAL) is a four-day program that seeks to contribute to the growth of faculty from traditionally underrepresented populations in the United States, particularly from Indigenous, African American/Black, and Hispanic/Latinx backgrounds. VITAL scholars have the opportunity to present their work, engage with UB faculty and students, meet other scholars in the program, and experience the region’s many offerings.

Resources & Support

SEAS Support

Group of LSAMP students in front of Lake LaSalle on UB's North Campus.

The SEAS Office of STEM Diversity offers programs that work to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing STEM disciplines at UB through a variety of academic and social enrichment programs. Students have the opportunity to receive mentoring and conduct research in a strong, supportive environment.

Other SEAS Resources

In addition to supporting JEDI initiatives, the SEAS JEDI Committee serves as a resource for grant writing activities leading to a host of additional programs, including social justice in engineering, opportunities in graduate education for underrepresented students, and workforce development.

Dean's Advisory Council Working Group

The Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) provides support and advice to the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in several key areas such as long-term planning and strategy, educational and professional identity, and curriculum. The DAC is also invested in diversity and inclusion and has launched the Diversity and Equity in SEAS Working Group to provide input and advice on how to address disparities in the STEM workforce.

University Support

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) ensures UB's compliance with policies covering discrimination, harassment, accommodations, equal opportunity and child protection.

SEAS JEDI Committee Members

Jason Armstrong
Teaching Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

Joseph Atkinson
Professor and Chair, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Rajan Batta
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Diversity, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Kathryn Doran
Registration & Academic Requirement Specialist, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Kennedy Colon
President of the UB National Society of Black Engineers and Undergraduate Student, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Department

Christopher Connor
Assistant Dean & Chief Enrollment Officer for Graduate Education, Office of Graduate Education

Holly Evert
Associate Director of Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Ashlee Ford Versypt
Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department

Christine Human
Associate Dean, Accreditation and Student Affairs, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Nina Jiangxi Gomez
Student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

David Kofke
SUNY Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department

Kristen Moore - Committee Chair
Associate Professor, Engineering Education Department

Shannon Phillips
Director of Operations, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Samira Safaripour
PhD Student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

Matilde Sanchez-Pena
Assistant Professor, Engineering Education Department

Ema Scollo
Graduate Academic Coordinator, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department

Virgina Stever
Director of Administration, Computer Science and Engineering Department

Jane Stoyle Welch
Director of Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Letitia Thomas
Assistant Dean for Diversity, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

David Yearke
Director of Cybersecurity and Data Assurance, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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