A broad goal of the Computer Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology (CISST) Engineering Research Center (ERC) is to embrace the cultural, gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of the U.S. in the composition of its leadership, faculty, staff, and associated students in order to assure that all talented people can pursue and receive engineering degrees and be engaged in engineering research and education. The faculty and staff of the CISST ERC have devoted the time and effort required to ensure that the diversity of the Center’s leadership, staff, faculty, and students serves as a model for diversity within our institutions and for the nation as a whole. In addition, we have provided resources and develop activities that reach far beyond the population of our center and specific areas of research, in order to make an impact on the engineering profession as a whole.
Our ERC diversity effort has increased participation of women and under-represented minorities in engineering at all levels. We plan to either strengthen or maintain our effectiveness in the area of diversity with three specific goals:
- Recruiting and Retention. The ERC has worked hard to recruit a diverse population of students to join the engineering community. Since 2004, the ERC has hosted a yearly Visit Day for students who were recruited from each department within the ERC research areas. The success in these events is evident in the growing number of women and minority Graduate students currently in the ERC. The ERC has also planned many social and outreach events, as well as professional development seminars to retain current graduate students. The Diversity Committee also offers avenues for communicating questions or concerns to faculty and staff.
- Community. The ERC has provided a sense of community, such that all students, faculty and staff feel comfortable communicating their needs and affecting change. Mentoring occurs at many levels. Our student leadership council (SLC) works with the ERC leadership to organize outreach activities, seminars and mentoring for the community. Furthermore, they have participated in a number of national conferences and meetings, which have impacted the computer integrated surgical and ERC communities as a whole.
- Achievement. The ERC provides exceptional support to all students, faculty, and staff so that they can achieve their professional goals. As more women and under-represented minorities distinguish themselves, there will be more diverse leadership in the engineering profession and relevant role models for tomorrow’s engineers.