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D&I Drives Engineering Education
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is more significant than ever at colleges, universities and graduate schools.
It shows students their commitment to D&I, as well as to multiculturalism and diversity of thoughts, ideas and people in their curriculum and research, on and off campus, inside and outside their classrooms, and on their faculty and staff.
Read on to ascertain what universities and graduate schools readers of Minority Engineer magazine have named for their commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in engineering, specifically for members of minority groups and diverse cultures in engineering.
Top Engineering Schools Foster D&I
Higher education has converted from a discretionary last stage of recommended study that follows the completion of secondary education into an almost essential stage of schooling. In addition, earning advanced degrees has also become an almost customary practice.
Global Fortune 500 employers and large government agencies now also expect this level of higher education. They demand it of their job candidates and employees, encouraging and empowering them to constantly continue their education, as learning only drives innovation and expansion, both on a personal and career level, but in terms of meeting and beating business, production and marketplace goals.
Outside universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, conservatories and institutes of technology, higher education is also available via certain college-level institutions, including vocational schools, trade schools and other career colleges that grant academic degrees or professional certifications.
Attaining at least an undergraduate degree - if not a master’s or doctoral degree - is vital to national economies now, both as an industry all on its own, and as a source of trained and educated personnel for the rest of the economy.
It’s also crucial to career advancement and achievement as university- and graduate school-educated employees have been progressively commanding a measurable wage premium over the last several decades, even with the ebb and flow and ups and downs of the U.S. and the global economies.
They also seem to have more security against unemployment because of their education level and skill sets that supplement their standing in the workplace. This is especially heartening in a harsher economy.
However, in a burgeoning economy - such as the one now where the national unemployment rate edged even further down to 3.7% in September and October 2018 - the lowest rate since 1969 - having an advanced degree differentiates you and makes you highly favored by companies competing for talent today.
What’s more, in terms of growth in engineering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of engineers is projected to expand 7% through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. BLS further projects about 194,300 new jobs to be added, too.
The agency has also previously reported even faster growth through 2024 specifically for biomedical engineers (23.1%), environmental engineers (12.4%) and civil engineers (8.4%).
That last statistic coincides neatly with the Fall 2018 Forecast and Quarterly Report by ConstructConnect, a provider of construction information and technology solutions in North America. It reveals that civil engineering has risen 22.2%, while residential construction dropped 2.8%.
Given all of that growth in the economy and in engineering in general, the studying that takes place at universities and graduate schools is particularly noteworthy these days, where education is focused on theoretical and abstract elements, as well as applied aspects via internships and co-ops.
Engineering employers, as well as those in practically every profession, want to hire graduates of universities and graduate programs, who want to continue their education and pursue professional certifications that will help them push invention and productivity, and better position them to be able to spur accelerated project and product completion timelines for better competitive edge in the national and global marketplaces.
They also want to do so because of the critical thinking, analytical reasoning, teamwork, information literacy, ethical judgment, decision-making, problem-solving and communication skills they learn, and because of their knowledge of liberal arts and sciences, as well as their chosen majors and areas of concentration.
And it’s not all about attaining advanced degrees in only engineering. Advanced degrees such as MBAs can help merge business and technology, producing a coveted skill set heavily sought by engineering firms today as engineers move from technical to managerial tracks in various areas of expertise and discipline.
Now, compared to most other higher-education systems around the world, the U.S. system is largely independent from federal government regulation and is highly decentralized. The system is also incredibly diverse in that there are public institutions and private ones, very large and very small ones, secular and religiously affiliated ones, and urban, suburban and rural ones. Such diversity means that there should be a “right fit” institution for every qualified student.
However, just as there’s diversity in the types of colleges, universities and graduate schools, the tenets of diversity and inclusion (D&I) have permeated the U.S. higher-education system for the better. And the call for diversity in engineering starts at the university level, as schools cultivate diversity of thought in academia, research and student bodies.
Many have learned that offering a diversified curriculum, student base, faculty and staff, and offering a diverse and inclusive learning environment result in better prepared, more open students, graduates and citizens who have a more expansive world view and who can approach things more imaginatively and analytically, devise unique solutions and push innovation.
In addition, employing a diverse staff and faculty that are committed to building and executing a curriculum that embraces, teaches and uncovers diversity of thought, diversity of people and diversity of new ideas is necessary for a university or graduate school seeking to include the principles of D&I that are seen in corporate America, federal agencies and military branches, and the larger global business world and worldwide community.
If not for D&I, then students may lack the broad, global view of the world that many top employers and agencies in the public and private sectors believe higher-ed graduates have learned and cultivated, and now possess and can easily apply.
Thus, it’s fair to say D&I in all aspects of post-secondary levels of education and beyond boosts knowledge base, fosters imaginative thinking and enriches social development. And those institutions of higher education that value D&I and multiculturalism in their students, faculty and administrative staff will better prepare students for an expansive global society.
Thus, multiculturalism and diversity inside and outside of the classroom, and on and off campus, are fundamental to students’ college experience because it helps prepare them for the real world.
Furthermore, D&I means the campus is viewed as an open and engaging environment for anyone who wants to apply. Having an inclusive mission at an educational institution says something enlightened and essential about its campus, that it values diversity and will allow its students to express themselves as they see fit.
D&I is clearly more critical than ever on campuses across the country, so it’s with this in mind that Minority Engineer magazine asked its readers as part of its 27th Annual Reader Survey, published in the Winter 2017/2018 issue, to name the top universities and graduate schools they believed offer a diversified curriculum, student base, faculty and staff, and foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment in engineering, especially for members of minority groups and diverse cultures in engineering.
We compiled their answers into two lists - the Top 50 Universities and the Top 25 Graduate Schools - in alphabetical order.
See our alphabetical listings of the Top 50 Universities and the Top 25 Graduate Schools, as named by readers, for their commitment to fostering D&I in engineering.
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