Foundational Changes to Improve Diversity and Inclusion
During the past several weeks at the University of Virginia’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), there have been many discussions and activities regarding the systemic problems in our society as highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.
While we have always been committed to having a diverse and inclusive community, these events call for an intensified, full-group effort to dramatically improve diversity and inclusion in all key aspects of our department. To accomplish this, we at MAE are developing a new framework for achieving foundational changes. The framework was developed using ideas from faculty, staff, alumni and especially students collected from various MAE town hall meetings and other discussion groups.
We are launching this new structure by first establishing a set of eight task forces— comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni— to conduct direct assessments of where we are and where we need to be, and then develop transparent and specific plans to reach our goals for a more diverse and inclusive environment. The task force plans and progress will be communicated September 2020 at an MAE townhall meeting (virtual and in-person) and on the MAE website.
In order to stay on track, we will continue town hall meetings at the start of each semester. These will be combined with several smaller roundtable discussions so that our plan—and our community—will continue to move forward with engagement and accountability.
These efforts can only be a success with voices such as yours to drive our future, so please consider opportunities to advise, engage, lead and support. If you are interested in being involved in one of our task forces or have an idea or suggestion, please contact us at ChangeMAE@virginia.edu.
Together, with commitment and resolve, we can make much-needed lasting and impactful changes for our community. We look forward to your input at the MAE September 2020 town hall.
Your MAE Faculty and Staff