Diversity and Inclusion Plan

Proposed Diversity and Inclusion Plan
Industrial Engineering Department
March 1, 2020

image of text - diversity and inclusionThe Industrial Engineering Department is committed to create a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff. This commitment supports the broader goal of enriching diversity and inclusion in the University of Arkansas campus. The development of this plan is inspired by the feedback received from on-line surveys, focus group discussions, and one-to-one discussions with students, staff, and faculty.

INEG Diversity and Inclusion VISION Statement

The Department of Industrial Engineering believes that broadening participation and fostering inclusion among students, faculty and staff is critical and supports its vision to pursue excellence in research, scholarship, and education, ensuring personal and professional growth for future generations of industrial engineering leaders who will stimulate prosperity for Arkansas, the nation and the world.

The following is a list of existing initiatives and additional recommendations which ensure that this vision is achieved.

Students

Initiatives already in place:

  • The Department organizes a number of social and professional events which bring students together;
  • The Department admits international students to both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Recommendations for improvements:

  • Increase awareness among students by encouraging them to attend D&I related activities around campus.
  • Organize social events to bring together students from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and races.
  • Improve diversity of mentors leading the Mentors Circle activities hosted by the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering (AAIE).
  • Revise forms for students to list options M/F/other in order to include options outside the binary definition.
  • Revise Syllabus, Blackboard, Website and examples used in class material to make gender neutral statements.
  • Identify scholarships for international students, female students and LGBT and post them on the website. Currently, opportunities listed are mainly focused on US citizens.
  • Encourage student chapters of APM, IISE, and INFORMS to organize events in collaboration with other student organizations listed in HOGSync.
  • Bring in speakers to discuss D&I themes.
  • Continue to inform new students (via the IE Seminar) about student chapters within IE, international student office, STEM, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
  • Establish a “Student Leader Award” to recognize efforts by an undergraduate and a graduate student in improving D&I in the department.
  • Establish a scholarship to be awarded to the D&I Ambassador who would oversee/ organize/identify opportunities to improve D&I in the department.

Faculty and Staff

Initiatives already in place:

  • Faculty/staff serving in hiring committees participate in D&I training sessions organized by the Office for D&I.
  • The Department advertises positions for new faculty via a number of venues to ensure a diverse pool of candidates.
  • The Department organizes social gathering for faculty and staff to make increase interactions and make everyone welcome.
  • The Department follows the Family and Medical Leave Act which grants one-year suspension of the probationary period for non-tenured faculty that hold a tenure track position.
  • The Department has offered a one course release to new parents (at the discretion of the Department Head.
  • The Department has provided new parents the flexibility with scheduling of classes.  

Recommendations for improvements:

  • Hold education or training program focused on diversity and inclusion.
  • Encourage faculty to attend diversity and inclusion related sessions in professional conferences.
  • Encourage the Department Head to consider a reduction of course load for untenured faculty members who become new parents within the first twelve months of the time the child has joined the faculty member’s family by birth or adoption.
  • Encourage the Department Head to provide flexible working schedule for new parents, and faculty and staff caring for an ill or elderly family member.
  • The personnel committee and the Department Head should become aware of the bias associated with the results of the question “My instructor is fluent in English” in course evaluations, when completing faculty annual evaluations.
  • Update the faculty hiring plan to ensure a diverse pool of candidates.

Action Plan

In response to the recommendations provided by students, faculty and staff, the department is proposing the following short-term and mid-term actions.

Immediate actions:

  1. The faculty will review Syllabus, Blackboard, Website and examples used in class material to make gender neutral statements.
  2. The department will encourage the student organizations of IISE, Tau Beta Pi, and INFORMS to organize an annual social events focused on D&I and provide the necessary sponsorship.
  3. The department will identify scholarships opportunities for international students, female students and LGBT and post them on the website. 
  4. The department will identify and invite a diverse group of professionals to become involved and lead the Mentors Circle activities hosted by the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering (AAIE).
  5. Invite speakers that discuss D&I related themes.

Short-term actions:

  1. Establish a scholarship to be awarded to the D&I Ambassador who would oversee/ organize/identify opportunities to improve D&I in the department. The faculty will devise a procedure for this scholarship.     
  2. Establish a “Student Leader Award” to recognize efforts by an undergraduate and a graduate student in improving D&I in the department. The faculty will devise a procedure for this award.     

Measuring Success

The development of this plan is inspired by the feedback received from on-line surveys, focus group discussions, and one-to-one discussions with students, staff, and faculty during Fall 2019. We plan to conduct this survey every year and use the feedback provided to adjust our action plans.

The recommendations presented above will lead to the development of an action plan which will be designed via discussions with the faculty.