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“Neither the NAE nor any other organization can solve all the societal problems associated with racism, prejudice, and discrimination, but it is our responsibility to do our best in recommending solutions based on scientific evidence and engineering methods,” said Dr. Anderson.
“Current events underscore how critical it is for us to redouble our efforts to include the perspectives of everyone as we build the future world that we want, one in which we are all valued equally. Engineers serve society, and to be effective engineers must be aware of societal problems in all dimensions.”
Activities and Initiatives
Awareness in the Engineering Community
NAE president John Anderson created an opportunity to address racial justice and equity at the 2020 NAE annual meeting. NAE member John Slaughter, professor in the Rossier School of Education and Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, presented the inaugural Special Lecture on Engineering and Society, “A Call to Action for Racial Justice and Equity in Engineering.”
“[A] cultural transformation must take place within the engineering profession, including the NAE, if we are to provide a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the efforts to quell systemic and structural racism in engineering and in society.” John Brooks Slaughter
The RJ&E Committee has worked diligently to increase the number of self-identified underrepresented minority members (URM) of the NAE by (1) identifying current URM members and (2) supporting the nomination of many more qualified minority members. In two years, the number of self-identified minority members has doubled. In addition, Dr. Anderson and the RJ&E Committee have encouraged minority members to run for NAE offices and many have been successful, including the newly appointed NAE vice president. NAE is more diverse than it was two years ago, but more needs to be done.
To encourage participation from the NAE’s URM members, as well as other members who are interested in diversity, the RJ&E Committee has established a member-led activity called URM of the NAE that will convene for the first time during the 2022 annual meeting.
Workshops and Studies
With the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the RJ&E committee provided impetus for a workshop, “Connecting Efforts to Support Minorities in Engineering Education,” held virtually in spring 2022.
Also with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the committee is conducting a planning study to look at future activities; one possibility is a webinar.
RJ&E collaborated with the 50K Coalition of student-run URM and women’s organizations to organize a workshop on engineering and community colleges in May 2021. RJ&E provided sponsorship as well as several of the keynote speakers.
The creation of three regional hubs will provide Community College-to-Engineering Pathways for Underrepresented Students. The first hub will be in the DC-MD-VA area, the second in the Chicago area, and the location of the third is TBD. (link the report we got from 50K)
The RJ&E committee is working with the University of Maryland at College Park on an initiative to follow up on suggestions made during the workshop of the Workshop on Connecting Minority Engineering Efforts.
In this literature review, we present a comprehensive search on five topics requested by the
National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Racial Justice & Equity (RJ&E) Committee:
● Increased Awareness of Racial Injustice and Inequity
● Mentoring for Minority Engineering Students and Early-Career Minority Engineers
● Nondegree Training for High-Tech Positions
● Development of Data and Relationships to Support Machine Learning Algorithms
● Efforts to Increase the Participation of Minorities in Engineering and Technology Using
Place-Based Innovation Zones
PostedJanuary 24, 2023
In September 2020, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) established the Committee on Racial Justice and Equity (RJ&E) to advise the NAE president on actions to advance racial justice and equity in the field of engineering and, by using engineering practices and tools, to address equality and access in society.
PostedDecember 7, 2022
PostedSeptember 26, 2022