The School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma was selected in late February to participate in a program called Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity (TECAID). As part of the program’s initiative, TECAID selected five U.S. Mechanical Engineering departments from across the country who are working to improve diversity and inclusion related to race, gender and other social identities and that wished to benefit from an infusion of support and expertise.
“We, at AME, were thrilled to be selected for the TECAID program, because we have a vision of a fully inclusive mechanical engineering program and we see this as a great opportunity to help us reach that goal,” said Rebecca Norris, AME’s office manager and member of the TECAID team.
As part of the TECAID program, each department will define a diversity and inclusion change project and work together toward achieving their goals. Expected departmental outcomes include more diversity, less bias, greater inclusion and a more informed, responsible academic citizenry in matters of gender, race, sexual orientation and other social identities. Participation in this program means that the team from AME will attend three workshops over the next year and will also meet online.
“I am very excited about our participation in the TECAID program as one of the five mechanical engineering departments in the nation,” said Altan. “The program will give us a tremendous opportunity to transform engineering culture to advance inclusion and diversity. We have formed an outstanding AME team who will work with the national leaders to develop and implement effective strategies to enhance the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented groups in mechanical engineering at OU.”
AME’s department team includes AME Director M. Cengiz Altan, Associate Professor J. David Baldwin, Associate Professor Wilson Merchan-Merchan, Professor Zahed Siddique and Rebecca Norris. This team will rely heavily on input from faculty members, especially female colleagues and those from underrepresented groups. AME believes the transformation of our school has to be driven from within, with the perception that the “majority” is driving the change.
“The TECAID program will help us discover more effective ways to recruit and retain underrepresented students in mechanical engineering to ensure that we are providing learning opportunities to top students from all groups,” said Siddique.
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