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National society bestows highest award on School of Engineering in inaugural diversity recognition program

The American Society for Engineering Education has bestowed the highest award given in its inaugural ASEE Diversity Recognition Program on the University of Dayton School of Engineering. UD’s engineering school is one of just 28 nationwide and the only school in Ohio to achieve this status.

According to the ASEE, the Bronze award with exemplar status establishes the School of Engineering among the nation's leaders in inclusive excellence and demonstrates the school is committed to establishing support for groups underrepresented in engineering. Recognized schools also are committed to analyzing and assessing unit composition, policies, culture and climate related to all groups underrepresented in engineering. They also are committed to implementing programs and initiatives to strengthen K-12 or community college pipelines and developing action plans for continuous improvement.

"We realize the power of diversity in preparing graduates for leadership and service in an inclusive and intercultural community, so we foster a culture that values diversity and inclusive excellence," said Eddy Rojas, dean of the School of Engineering. "Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of who we are as educators, engaged citizens and members of a Catholic, Marianist institution. Diversity enriches community, enhances learning and magnifies the ability to innovate."

This is the second such honor in the last few months for the school or Rojas, who has made diversity a hallmark since he became dean in 2014. In May, the Women in Engineering ProActive Network awarded Rojas its Advocates and Allies award for his leadership in implementing programs that advocate, mentor and support the success of women in engineering.

"These are recognitions the entire School of Engineering community earned, and the whole University should be proud of their hard work and achievement," University of Dayton President Eric. F. Spina said. "As an engineering professor over many years, I've seen the historical paucity of women and the difference in quality of the classroom and lab experiences for all as more women have entered the field. Women and other underrepresented students bring new perspectives, fostering creativity and inspiring innovation."

Since joining the University, Rojas created a Diversity in Engineering Center, which is home to the school's Women Engineering, Minority Engineering and international student programs. Two-thirds of new faculty hires have been women or minorities. More than a quarter of incoming students are women and nearly a fifth are minorities; both are records. Women now comprise a third of the school's leadership council, formerly an all-male group. The school also has appointed its first female department chair.

"Dr. Rojas' efforts haven’t stopped at the hiring of female personnel, as he puts extensive time, effort and resources into the professional development of his faculty, thereby providing every opportunity for success," said Kristen Krupa-Comfort, who took over as chemical engineering department chair July 1.

In addition to these academic and program initiatives, Rojas also has made substantive changes in the school's home, Kettering Labs. He provided financial support to create a lactation room and changed restroom spaces to provide more equitable access to these facilities for female faculty, staff and students.

Read more about the University of Dayton School of Engineering's diversity efforts at https://udayton.edu/engineering/connect/diversity/index.php

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at srobinson1@udayton.edu or 937-229-3391.


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