Broadening Participation in ECE
A primary goal of the ECE department's recently adopted strategic plan is to recruit and retain diverse groups of students, faculty, and staff and promote a sense of community. To that end, we have created this page to highlight our ongoing efforts and also to share relevant resources for those wanting to get more involved.
How to Report an Incident
The Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion maintains a comprehensive list of resources if you need to report an incident on campus. For example, there are resources for incidents of discrimination or harassment, concerns about negative behavior and campus belonging, sexual harassment, and barriers to access.
Community of Care
The faculty and staff in the department care about the well-being of our undergraduate and graduate students. Many resources are available on campus for students needing assistance, but it can be challenging to know where to start. If you have an issue we invite you to reach out to a member of the advising team as a first step (see contact list at the bottom of the page).
Additionally, the Office of the Dean of Students maintains a list of resources available on-campus, in addition to those offered by the Champaign-Urbana community.
Our BPC Plan
In order to support meaningful actions that address the longstanding underrepresentation of various populations including women, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and persons with disabilities in the computing field, The NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) launched a BPC pilot effort to encourage thoughtful engagement of and meaningful action by the community on this longstanding issue.
Our Departmental BPC plan, verified by the CISE-funded BPCnet Resource portal, outlines our goals, activities, and metrics for evaluating our department's BPC activities.
Use of Inclusive Language
The Illinois ECE department supports the use of inclusive language in all of its materials. We encourage faculty, students, and staff to review the following resources and incorporate best practices when publishing course materials and other official documentation.
- Bringing Inclusive Language into IT - "Inclusivity is a never-ending goal, changing language is an ongoing process, and some changes are more difficult than others. The process begins with asking the question: How can we do or be better?"
- Inclusive IT Language Guide - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign does not yet have an official guide to inclusive language, but this document from the University of California, Irvine is an excellent starting point.
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)
There are several RSOs affiliated with the department and The Grainger College of Engineering whose missions include broadening participation in engineering.
- Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering (WECE) - WECE is devoted to supporting and encouraging women in engineering. WECE provides opportunities to meet prominent women in engineering, professional information and support, and awareness of the issues relevant to women in electrical and computer engineering.
- ECE Student Advancement Committee (ECESAC) - ECESAC members serve as liaisons between ECE administration and students. Members give input on a variety of projects and topics concerning the department, and they host various activities and socials for ECE students throughout the school year.
- National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) - To increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) - SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize their fullest potential and impacts the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. SHPE's vision is a world where Hispanics are highly valued and influential as the leading innovators, scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE) - SWE is a technical, professional, social, and outreach organization, and is part of a larger organization with over 14,000 members nationally. It is the largest engineering organization on campus, and provides a great support system for women in engineering.
Sustained Engagement & Programming
The chart below represents the various programs currently in place across Grainger Engineering to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. These activities target a broad range of age groups, from kindergarten through working professionals. You can also download a PDF version, which includes links to each of the programs mentioned.
Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
Illinois ECE offers a significant number of scholarships for undergraduate students and fellowships for graduate students with the specific intent of increasing our student body's diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
Academic, Research, and Entrepreneurship Programs
ARISE is a program that provides academically talented students coming from low -income backgrounds support and preparation to successfully earn their engineering degrees from the University of Illinois. If accepted, students are directly admitted to The Grainger College of Engineering.
AWARE supports entrepreneurship training, counseling, and networking and includes an entrepreneur-in-residence familiar with the needs of those from underrepresented backgrounds, small proof-of-concept grants, and targeted mentorship, training, and networking opportunities.
Illinois Engineering Ambassadors is a professional outreach program sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Engineering. These ambassadors serve as role models of engineering to those who are classically underrepresented and underserved in engineering fields. EA seeks to change the conversation about what it means to be an engineer by focusing on how engineers are positively impacting the health, happiness, and safety of our world.
MERGE is a diversity recruitment initiative that gives talented students from underrepresented groups from across the nation an opportunity to visit our campus early in the application process.
The SURGE fellowship program is for incoming graduate students from underrepresented communities planning to complete a doctoral program.
The National Society of Black Engineers increases the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) is dedicated to the development of LGBTQIA+ students in STEM fields.
The Society of Women Engineers provides mentoring relationships and professional development opportunities for a diverse network of women engineers on campus.
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize their fullest potential and impacts the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.
The Society for the Advancement of Chicano/ Hispanic and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS) promotes diversity in STEM by encouraging and providing students with resources to succeed in the sciences.
Cultural and Resource Centers
Our campus cultural and resource centers provide students with programming and support for students of diverse backgrounds.
Administrative Offices and Programs
The Morrill Engineering Program (MEP) empowers African American, Hispanic, and Native American engineering students, supports their success as scholars, and leverages a community of students, staff, and alumni to achieve excellence in Grainger Engineering.
The Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access will serve as a focal point for expanding the visibility and impact of diversity efforts in The Grainger College of Engineering.
Women in Engineering is a college-wide program dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for students in The Grainger College of Engineering.
The Grainger College of Engineering Diversity Committee is made up of faculty, students, and academic professionals. They advise the dean and college and departmental leadership on programs for recruiting underrepresented students, hiring practices, strategic planning, and ways of fostering a more inclusive climate within the college.
IDEA Institute Resources
The Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access will serve as a focal point for expanding the visibility and impact of diversity efforts in The Grainger College of Engineering. The IDEA institute offers anti-racism resources including webinars, blogs, reading materials, action items, talks, and more.
ECE Advising Team
Molly George Helgesen
MEng Program Coordinator
Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs/Chief Advisor