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 Empowering Advancement 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

  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
    10/25/23
    The National Society of Black Engineers is the largest student managed organization in the country. NSBE seeks to promote the recruitment, retention, and academic excellence of students of color in engineering and science.
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
    10/9/18
    The Society of Women Engineers encourages women to achieve their full career potential as engineers and leaders by expanding the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and by demonstrating the value of diversity.
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
    10/29/18
    SHPE UB inspires and motivates underrepresented students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at the University at Buffalo and in the Buffalo area.
  • UB DivTech
    2/7/23
    Previously known as UB Scientista, UB DivTech promotes diversity in technology by trying to provide equal access to opportunities such as internships, scholarships, hackathons and conferences.
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
    10/25/23
    AISES is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in STEM studies and careers.
  • Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE)
    10/29/18
    SASE is dedicated to the professional and educational advancement of Asian heritage scientists and engineers.
  • Phi Sigma Rho
    10/25/23
    Phi Sigma Rho is a social sorority exclusively for women in engineering. Phi Sigma Rho sisters strive for academic and professional excellence but recognize that developing lasting bonds of friendship and support with other women in engineering is essential to our success.

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

Executive Committee

Kristen Moore - Committee Chair
Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Kevin Burke
Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Electrical Engineering

Kathryn Doran
Assistant Dean for Academic Services, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Jada Mowatt
Student, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

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

Jen Zirnheld
Maxwell Technologies Inc. Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering

Ex Officio Members

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

Jeffrey Errington
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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

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

SEAS JEDI Committee

Jason Armstrong
Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Joseph Atkinson
Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering 

Kennedy Colon
Undergraduate Student, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Christopher Connor
Acting Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, University at Buffalo; 
Senior Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management, 
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Holly Evert
Director of Enrollment Marketing and Recruitment Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Ashlee Ford Versypt
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering 

Nina Jiangxi Gomez
Undergraduate Student, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

David Kofke
SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Samira Safaripour
PhD Student,
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Matilde Sánchez-Peña
Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Education

Ema Scollo
Graduate Academic Coordinator, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department

Virgina Stever
Administrative Director, Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

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

Faculty Subcommittees

Faculty Equity Support Group

Jee Eun (Jamie) Kang, ISE (Chair); Jeff Errington, CBE; Atri Rudra, CSE

Faculty Hiring

John Atkinson, CSEE and Craig Snoeyink, MAE (Co-Chairs); Lauren Kuryloski, DEE;  Jenn Zirnheld, EE; Dave Kofke, CBE

Faculty Review Procedures

Tenure-Track:
Ashlee Ford Versypt (Co-Chair), Kristen Moore, DEE; Negar-Elhami-Khorasani, CSEE

Non-Tenure-Track:
Christine Human, CSEE, (Co-Chair): Kevin Burke, EE; Amy Baird, DEE

Inclusive Mentoring

Negar Elhami-Khorasani, CSEE and Atri Rudra, CSE (Co-Chairs): Jill Martiniuk, DEE; Viviana Monje-Galvan, CBE; Rajan Batta, ISE

Inclusive Teaching

Jason Armstrong, MAE and Doga Yucalan, DEE (Co-Chairs); Kevin Burke, EE

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