Last year, the murder of George Floyd put a spotlight on the inequities that exist in American society. Following the murder, demand for change and racial justice spread throughout the world, and inspired action in higher education to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on campuses.
UT’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) is doing its part to help improve DEI on campus and within the department by appointing Professor Jackie Johnson and Associate Professor Chad Duty as DEI directors.
“I’m excited to serve with Dr. Johnson as DEI co-directors because I believe we’re both interested in helping the college and department provide students with a world-class engineering education,” said Duty. “This includes recruiting the best students and faculty from a wide array of backgrounds, providing them with the support and resources to be successful, and promoting an environment that encourages an open exchange of ideas with civility and mutual respect.”
Johnson feels that people should be assessed based on the quality of their character and their contributions, not race or gender. She is looking forward to the challenge and is thankful for the opportunity to help in the DEI efforts.
“In my research group, I have hired based on finding the best person for the job, and it has worked out that I have a diverse group with mostly females, including one Black female, as well as a white male right now,” said Johnson. “I believe strongly that everyone should be treated equally and included, then diversity takes care of itself.”
As DEI directors, Johnson and Duty will work closely with MABE’s department head and college level DEI leadership to implement the TCE Diversity Action Plan as well as
- Recruit and identify high-quality candidates for searches and opportunity hires in strategic areas,
- Identify areas and develop implementation strategies for moving forward,
- Cultivate and analyze national and local trends in data,
- Develop and communicate best practices, and
- Focus on student, faculty, and staff DEI.
The DEI director positions are a 2-year term, renewable only in special circumstances.