The College of Integrated Science and Engineering has strongly valued diversity and inclusive practices since its inception.  Applied science and technology fields across the nation struggle from a lack of diversity, most visibly – but far from exclusively – with respect to gender.  Many of our CISE faculty members are passionate about enhancing diversity in their fields, especially with respect to K-12 education and in our classrooms here at JMU.  We owe it to society to diversify our fields and create inclusive environments that enable talented and motivated people from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences to contribute to solving the critical problems of our time using science and technology.

During the past few years, CISE has worked hard to develop inclusive practices and increase our student and faculty diversity.  These efforts range from attentive hiring practices to CISE-wide faculty discussions about inclusion to outreach activities in a range of fields.  In part due to these efforts, CISE earned the Bronze Award (the highest level currently available) for Diversity from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

We have a long way to go, however. The promotion of diverse and inclusive workplaces and classrooms is an ongoing journey, not a destination.

Outreach

Faculty in CISE have been active in K-12 and community outreach efforts emphasizing diversity and inclusion for years…literally since before CISE was founded.  Much of this outreach is local, as we value the diversity of our local Harrisonburg community. 

  • JMU's Professors in Residence Program arranges for JMU instructional faculty to spend one day a week at a local high school.
  • The First Lego League national program aimed at getting students interested and involved in design projects, working as part of a team to accomplish various tasks. JMU has hosted regional competitions on campus regularly in recent years.
  • D.I.G.I.T.A.L. (Dukes Inspiring Girls Into Technology Across Limits) is a program that encourages young girls in the Harrisonburg school system to explore possibilities in technological fields.
  • CISE departments have participated in or hosted summer camps and workshops, many of which reach out to females and underrepresented minorities. 
Internal Processes and Culture

CISE Director of Access and Inclusion
In 2021, Dr. Carole Nash was selected as the CISE Director of Access and Inclusion
In 2020, Dr. Kyle Gipson was selected as the CISE Director of Access and Inclusion 

CISE Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Meetings 
In 2018 and 2019, CISE held a series of meetings focused on a variety of issues related to diversity and inclusion issues.

Faculty Workshops
In collaboration with the CISE Diversity Council and several other faculty members, the CISE Dean’s office has endorsed two major efforts: the development and administration of a CISE Climate Survey and required workshops for faculty to enhance their understanding and capabilities with respect to inclusive practices and promoting diversity.

CISE Dean’s Commendation for Diversity 
The CISE Dean recognizes faculty and staff who make exceptional contributions to enhancing the diversity and inclusivity of CISE and its majors, JMU, and/or their fields of study. 

Departmental Campus Leadership
 
CISE has been a campus leader in addressing issues related to diversity and inclusion. In 2017-18, the School of Integrated Sciences invited Art Dean, Executive Director for Access and Inclusion to assist SIS in formally adopting a set of departmental values. In 2019, SIS hosted Associate Provost David Owusu-Ansah for training in best practices for search processes.

CISE Diversity Council
Created in 2020, the CISE Diversity Council serves primarily as a coordinating body linking the efforts of JMU and CISE.  The Council focuses on highlighting successful diversity and inclusion efforts within CISE academic units. 

CISE Student Diversity Committee 
In the Fall of 2020, CISE initiated a student diversity committee to collect and articulate the diversity and inclusion related concerns and interests of CISE students. 

Student Groups and Organizations

Women in Technology (WIT)
Women in Technology is a national organization that supports women working in technology fields in a variety of ways, including networking, mentorship, and outreach. The JMU WIT chapter has been quite active in recent years.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
SWE is an international advocacy organization that gives women engineers a unique place and voice within the engineering industry. The organization is centered around a passion for our members' success and continues to evolve with the challenges and opportunities reflected in today's exciting engineering and technology specialties. The JMU chapter of SWE was created in 2010.

We Make We Share
A group of JMU Engineering professors formed a program called WE Make, WE Share, where female professors and students from JMU's Engineering Department meet to learn new skills, make things together, and discuss issues they have in common as women in the engineering field.

Minority Programmers Association (MPA)
The Minority Programmers Association (MPA) is a diverse, student-created JMU club that aims to develop globally-minded projects that have a positive social impact.

National Society of Black Engineers
The National Society of Black Engineering (NSBE) members, chapters, and supporters are dedicated to increasing the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. The JMU chapter has been active since 2013.

Education and Awareness

Black Studies/Black Spaces exhibition
Students in a JMU course explored Black Studies and Black Spaces as JMU through its history, and developed a multifaceted exhibit based on their work.  CISE partnered with the College of Math and Science (CSM) to host a modified version of this exhibit in five different display locations throughout our building complex.

Engineering Sophomore Design Project
Sophomores in the JMU Engineering program have worked in teams on a project to design and build bicycles for an individual from the local community with a significant physical disability.  Teams compete to create a bike to best suit the client's needs, and the client chooses (and keeps) their favorite bike at the end of the year.

Diversity-related Technology Conferences
Student and faculty participate in diversity-related technology conferences

NCWIT Technology Grant
In 2018, JMU’s Computer Science Department was awarded a grant from NCWIT to improve retention of female students in computer science.  That grant has had many positive impacts, including making several of our spaces more welcoming and inviting for all.

Computer Science Teaching Assistant Training Program
Each semester, JMU’s Computer Science Department holds a required training session for all teaching assistants, which emphasizes best-practices related to diversity and inclusion issues that might arise in the classroom.

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