Dear CoE community,

We hope the spring semester has started off well for each of you and that you are staying safe and warm in this winter weather. This month, we celebrate Black History Month, the Lunar New Year, the UN’s International Day of Social Justice, and International Women & Girls in STEM day. Below the updates, we’ve summarized some of the many opportunities on campus to celebrate and learn. We hope that you can join us at these events!  

DEI Council Update

The DEI Council met last week; our discussion revolved around how to better engage our faculty, staff, and student in DEI, whether through communications, events or other resource sharing. We have begun a process of updating the DEI website to simplify how we share information, and will continue to do more promotion of DEI events via the college’s social media accounts and through announcements in classes and seminars.

Alumni Mentors for Engineering Students

The eGOLD Board (Engineering Graduates of the Last Decade) is offering tailored mentorship experiences for undergraduate engineering students. This opportunity connects you with an Iowa Engineering alum who can help guide you on your journey, whatever that may be.  You can request a mentor who is in your major, who works in an industry you’d like to know more about, and/or who shares your gender identity, ethnicity, first-generation status, post-graduation and career goals, etc. Register for an eGOLD mentor here. The deadline to sign up for a mentor is Tuesday, March 2nd. 

Upcoming Events

Each of us is in a different place on our DEI journey.  We encourage everyone to continue to engage and learn more about topics and issues that support diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our college. Please consider participating in one or more of these opportunities!

events graphic

  • February 11 (Today!):  Happy Lunar New Year! One of the most celebrated events in the world occurs every year with the start of new year on the lunar calendar. The upcoming coming year is the Year of the Ox. Join the campus celebration online at 7 PM CST. This event will include short cooking demonstrations, video messages from alumni, and discussions with faculty members describing what Lunar New Year/Spring Festival means to them.
    Register here:
  • February 12:  Dr. Jennifer Linderman of the University of Michigan will presentRaising Respect: Why Leaders Should Care about Workplace Climate and How to Approach Improving It”.  This seminar will describe a new effort at the University of Michigan that is focused on improving workplace climate. She will first present a framework for climate and review research to make a case for caring about respectful workplace climates, then discuss what leaders can do to actively cultivate a more respectful and inclusive climate in their units. Register in advance for this 9:00AM CT webinar, organized by the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and sponsored by the DEI Council:
  • February 21:  In recognition of Black History Month and the International Day of Women and Girls in STEM, the Engineering Library and DEI Council are co-sponsoring a watch party of the movie “Hidden Figures” at 7pm CST. The event will stream the movie and feature live commentary by STEM faculty and members of the Afro House. To register for this event, click here:
  • February 24: Continue the Black History Month celebration by joining a discussion of one of the first American novels to focus on the experience of a Black woman. The Iowa City Public Library (ICPL) and the City of Iowa City Equity & Human Rights Division (EHRD) are hosting a book discussion of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, a classic novel associated with the early 20th century Harlem Renaissance. The discussion is open to the public and facilitated by Abena Sankofa Imhotep, Director of Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group.  Register here for the 7-8 PM CST event (space is limited!):
  • February 25: Black Lives on Screen: Student Panel discussing Black Panther, organized by the Afro House. Stream film (with HawkID) here prior to the event, then join for a live panel discussion at 7pm. This event series showcases the work of a diverse range of acclaimed African American and Black filmmakers, artists, and scholars. The Black Lives on Screen online screening series and discussions promotes and celebrates the rich history, present, and future of Black cinematic expression in the context of an inclusive, educational, and inspiring experience for the entire UI community. More info & registration here:

Please also consider attending one of the upcoming BUILD or Safe Zone Workshops (you can also view full list here):

ASEE Diversity Recognition

As you’ve heard, our college recently received Bronze-level Recognition from the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program. We want to reiterate that this recognition is just the beginning: this indicates that our college’s plans to foster DEI has been reviewed by deans at peer institutions, and that our approach is grounded in best practices and guided by a self-study of our college climate and demographics.  Fostering DEI is a continuous process – one that requires commitment and support from everyone within the college. Thanks for the role you are playing! (Also, as an aside, although “Bronze” doesn’t sound like the top recognition, it is currently the highest level of recognition offered by ASEE, while they revise the components of other recognition levels. When available and appropriate, we will look forward to the opportunity to advance beyond bronze, as we strengthen DEI within our college.)  

Your feedback is always welcome – you can submit anonymous input or share your experiences here, or feel free to reach out to any of anyone on the council directly (membership here).  We appreciate everyone’s continued commitment to DEI in our college. 

Stay warm, healthy, and safe!

Sarah Vigmostad, DEI Council co-chair
Cathy Koebrick, DEI Council co-chair

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