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At today’s first-ever White House Demo Day, 92 U.S. and Canadian engineering schools have committed to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in the engineering profession (Photo: Sara Collaton).

The University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has joined more than 90 North American engineering schools that are leading a transformative movement to boost diversity in engineering — one of two Canadian engineering schools to do so.

In a letter shared today by the U.S. White House as part of its first-ever Demo Day, U of T and peer institutions committed to recruit more women and underrepresented minorities to their student and faculty populations, as well as foster a culture of inclusivity amongst the broader engineering profession.

“U of T Engineering is committed to encouraging and increasing diversity among our students, our faculty, our programs and the engineering profession,” said Dean Cristina Amon. “We are delighted to join engineering schools across North America in increasing our recruiting efforts for women and underrepresented groups. Diverse perspectives deepen the engineering creative process, driving innovation and bringing superior approaches to address critical global challenges and enrich our lives.”

U of T Engineering is a leader in Canada in fostering gender diversity in the profession. In 2014, women made up 30.6 per cent of the Faculty’s first-year engineering class – the highest proportion of any entering engineering class in Canada. (Learn more about women at U of T Engineering)

Released as part of the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Year of Action in Diversity, the letter outlines four actions that each participating school has committed to implement. These include:

  1. Developing a diversity plan in collaboration with national and international organizations that articulates a vision for diversity and inclusiveness, describes a statement of priorities and goals, commits to equity, implicit bias and inclusion training across the school and provides a means of assessing the plan’s success.
  2. Committing to at least one kindergarten to grade 12 or community college pipeline activity, such as targeted recruitment or educational outreach activities, with explicit targeted goals and measures of accountability aimed at increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of the engineering student body in the institution.
  3. Developing strong partnerships between research-intensive engineering schools and non-PhD granting engineering schools serving populations underrepresented in engineering.
  4. Implementing proactive strategies to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in amongst students and faculty members.

Earlier this year, the Faculty was the only Canadian engineering school to join a related U.S. initiative to establish special educational programs designed to prepare undergraduates to solve “Grand Challenges” — presented through a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama. (Read more)

Read the Diversity Letter on the White House website.

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