Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for their students, faculty and staff. Our department is best equipped to tackle society’s most challenging scientific and technology problems when we combine insight from a variety of perspectives, personal experiences, and backgrounds.
Diversifying our community of students, faculty and staff is fundamental to our mission of sustaining and pushing forward excellence in academics and research.
An important goal of the department is to encourage the application, enrollment, engagement and thriving of a diverse community of students. MatSE at Illinois is proud that the number of women undergraduate and graduate students has reached nearly 30 percent of our student body. Similarly, more than 35 percent of MatSE at Illinois faculty are women.
Our department is involved in various activities to continuously strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of our community as highlighted below:
- MatSE at Illinois faculty is directly involved in individually advising students as well as student societies, such as Materials Advantage and Keramos.
- Faculty and staff are deeply engaged and lead a variety of outreach activities at The Grainger College of Engineering including the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Programs, female-focused summer camps for high-school and middle-school students, such as GEMS and Mid-GLAM, respectively; as well as a MatSE after-school academy.
- MatSE at Illinois staff and faculty attend the annual National Society of Black Engineers and Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science conferences to recruit prospective graduate students. The department also reaches out to engineering historically black colleges and universities.
- Working with The Grainger College of Engineering and Graduate College, the department also participates in programs such as the Multicultural Engineering Recruitment for Graduate Education, which is a diversity recruiting event. Faculty also participate in the SURGE fellowship program, Sloan Scholars and Illinois Sloan Scholars Fellowship Program with the Graduate College.
- MatSE at Illinois advertises faculty job opportunities in avenues to attract a diverse pool of applications. MatSE at Illinois reviews faculty applications with respect to their scholarship and demonstrated commitment to DEI as stated in The Grainger College of Engineering’s DEI statement.
- MatSE at Illinois takes care to invite a diverse body of applicants to campus interviews. The department is proactive in putting forward attractive offers and has an excellent track record in accommodating dual careers. Junior and mid-career faculty are supported with formal and informal mentorship programs. The faculty development committee provides thorough assessment and feedback yearly.
- MatSE at Illinois takes special care to ensure that job descriptions do not include requirements that could potentially exclude those from under-represented groups.
- Supervisors ensure that under-represented staff are tasked with recruiting faculty and students in a way that is commensurate with their job responsibilities and workloads.
- Promotions and annual reviews are managed with parity among all staff. Exit interviews are completed for all staff, but special care will be taken to inquire about an under-represented staff’s input on MatSE at Illinois’ diversity culture.
- MatSE at Illinois’ DEI Committee brings faculty, students, researchers and staff together to engage with recruitment efforts at the department, college and campus, and together they develop strategies to achieve our DEI goals.