UofM Herff College of Engineering Receives Prestigious National Award for Diversity Efforts 

Jan. 21, 2021  — The University of Memphis’ Herff College of Engineering recently received Bronze-level recognition from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Diversity Recognition Program, currently the highest level of recognition available from the program.  

According to the ASEE, the Bronze-level recognition means that a school is among the nation’s leaders in inclusive excellence. 

“The Herff College of Engineering is dedicated to fostering and supporting a diverse and inclusive student community, and we are honored that our leadership in this vital area has been acknowledged by the ASEE Bronze Award for Diversity,” said Rick Sweigard, dean of the Herff College of Engineering. “We still have much work to do, but we are moving in the right direction to ensure that all feel welcome as we prepare our students for an increasingly complex world.” 

In 2017, Sweigard was one of the 220 signatories of the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, which committed the colleges to developing a diversity plan and creating at least one activity associated with K-12 or community colleges. The Herff College Diversity Strategic Plan aims to enhance the diversity of students, staff and faculty in the college and promote a culture of inclusiveness. 

The Diversity Recognition Program was created by the American Society of Engineering Education to publicly recognize those engineering and engineering technology colleges that make significant, measurable progress in increasing diversity, inclusion and degree attainment outcomes of their programs.  

The honor is given to colleges that sign the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, build the infrastructure to support diverse populations, have at least one K-12 or community college pipeline activity and commit to a diversity and inclusion plan that includes measurable goals. The program has plans to award “Silver” and “Gold” status in the future, but universities must first receive “Bronze recognition,” which is valid for three years and is renewable. 

“As many engineers know, diversity enriches community, enhances learning and magnifies the ability to innovate,” said Dr. Stephanie Ivey, associate dean for research at the Herff College of Engineering. “Here at Herff, our faculty are constantly seeking ways to open paths for women and underrepresented minorities in engineering. This award is representative of the efforts that our faculty put forward that is often unrecognized.” 

Key programs at Herff that foster diversity and inclusion include the Tennessee Louis Stokes’ Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP), Girls Experiencing Engineering (GEE), an Engineering Living-Learning Community for undergraduate women engineering students and active student organizations including the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). 

About the American Society of Engineering Education 

The American Society of Engineering Education, founded in 1893, is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. To learn more about the ASEE Diversity Recognition program visit https://diversityrecognition.asee.org/