The BRADLEY DEPARTMENT of ELECTRICAL and COMPUTER ENGINEERING

Diversity & Inclusion | ECE | Virginia Tech

ECE Diversity & Inclusion

Photo of Virginia Tech students

The ECE Department at Virginia Tech is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community for our students, faculty, and staff. An inclusive culture allows everyone to thrive and have a sense of belonging that is crucial to promoting academic, personal, and social success.

About The Committee

Photograph of a student workingThe purpose of the ECE Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to contribute positively to an environment that welcomes and embraces all perspectives to create a diverse and inclusive learning community for the next generation of engineers.

Our objectives include:

Understand and report how well we are doing with regard to diversity and inclusion. This includes: 

  • Quantitative studies (climate survey).
  • Examination of peer-reviewed literature regarding diversity and inclusion.
  • Providing an environment where students, staff, and faculty are comfortable describing personal and potentially difficult experiences.

Educate, empower, and lead the department in a cultural shift that prioritizes and facilitates diversity and inclusion.

  • We will provide the information, resources, and leadership to bring change.
  • We are developing long-term strategies and will continually strive for improvement.

Within the ECE Department, we aspire to be a welcoming and inclusive learning community. We are committed to developing the resources and processes to have difficult conversations, where we can listen and learn from each other and grow as a community.

We welcome your input. Please reach out to members of the ECE Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

The committee members are:

Paul Ampadu, Scott Bailey, Arthur Ball, Christina DiMarino, Dong Dong, Laura Villada Esquivel, Kayla Farrow, Celina Gallegos, Nicole Gholston, Luke Lester, Lenny Smith, Yong Xu, and Wei Zhou

Climate Badges and Safe Zones

On- and off-campus opportunities for improving inclusivity, in and out of the classroom.

Are you interested in fostering a more inclusive atmosphere in your workplace, classroom, and/or research programs? There are numerous on- and off-campus activities that have been developed to help you achieve this goal.

For example, you may sign up for classes offered by VT’s Professional Development Network (PDN), a unit of the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS). To sign up for such classes, you can simply go to the TLOS website: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/, where you will see a large number of classes for professional development. To find classes on fostering inclusivity, simply click the “Categories” button, and select “Inclusive Practices.” Example courses include, “Fostering a Growth Mindset,” “Anti-Racist Teaching,” and “Creating an Inclusive Workplace.” Many of the classes are online and self-paced, where you can go through instructor-designed modules on Canvas. Some of the classes also include live sessions. After going through the modules, you will reach the “Course Completion” page on Canvas, at which point you will receive course credit and get a digital badge for completing the course.

In addition, virtual Safe Zone training is available as meetings once per week for five weeks, with four five-week sessions per semester to choose from. You get five NLI credits for completing this training. There are interesting readings and insightful discussion boards each week to prepare for the weekly meeting conducted via Zoom with all the members. Topics include LGBTQ+ issues that our students may face, and how to best handle these situations. Upon completion, a digital Safe Zone badge is awarded to signal to students that you are aware and approachable for anything they may need. To see meeting dates and to register, visit: https://ccc.vt.edu/resources/safe_zone.html.

The ECE Department strongly encourages faculty and staff to complete at least one course on inclusive practices. Such classes enable us to better understand others’ perspectives, and provide helpful strategies that we can employ to make our department an inclusive, safe space for students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds. These courses also allow us to connect with and exchange experiences and ideas with faculty and staff members from outside of ECE.

There is also a wealth of courses, workshops, and seminars provided by other institutions. For instance, the Inclusive Engineering Consortium (IEC), a consortium of historically minority-serving institutions, hosts regular workshops and other events related to increasing diversity and inclusion in ECE education.