Our journey

Michigan Engineering—like much of the country—has been on a journey. In 2016, we laid out ME2020 as a pathway to success. This strategic vision encapsulated the very best of Michigan, and set a course for becoming the preeminent college of engineering serving the common good. Since that time, we have done much to achieve that vision. 

We unveiled bold new educational and research initiatives, spurring innovation in our classrooms and laboratories. But where we have seen the most progress – and where we have helped lead amongst our peers – has been in our culture.

Group of people having a conversation at a long table

Shifting our culture

Although some may question the value of an engineering school placing equal emphasis on culture along with education and research, we knew that our people are our strongest asset. With our set of values to guide us, we crafted a culture pillar and DEI strategic plan that sought to take a hard look at where we were falling short in creating an environment for our students, faculty and staff that was inclusive, daring, collaborative, transparent and sought to have social impact.

Examples of success

  • Our tenure and faculty review process has been articulated, clearly allowing both faculty and all of our community to understand the value in not only incredible research output and teaching, but also in public service and mentoring.
  • Our staff incentives and reviews have been aligned with our values, recognizing those in our community who seek to conduct themselves in a way that is not only exemplary, but facilitates collaboration, daring and equity.
  • We successfully weathered the storm of COVID through a commitment to our values, and are emerging stronger as a result. And we have faced the difficult questions of how to heal a community harmed by sexual misconduct, mental health and isolation.
  • We articulated the need to conduct engineering with an “equity-centered” approach to intentionally close–rather than unintentionally expand–societal gaps.

These examples just scratch the surface of our progress. Yet much work remains. We are not perfect, but we are committed. That commitment is reaffirmed through our continuation towards constant improvement.

Charting ahead

In addition to our efforts within the College, we looked outwards to our peers and leaders in the engineering field to explore what the future of engineering holds. Through that research, we’ve outlined a new “people-first” framework for both doing and teaching engineering for the future, one rooted in equity that leverages the strengths of our University of Michigan ecosystem and expertise. 

It has been a great journey, but it’s not over. We have not reached “mission accomplished” status. We must continue to push ourselves to create a future that elevates all of humanity. We must set our sights on a new horizon that puts people at the heart of our endeavors.

By taking a “people-first” approach, we can continue this journey, leading the field of engineering past 2020 and into the future. A future where we build and rebuild systems that serve all of humanity.

Aug 2016

Leadership retreat

A vision for the future – moving from great to best

Oct 2016

Vision, mission, values

Public announcement of the new materials

Nov 2016

DEI 1.0

Begin articulation of strategic plan

Jan 2017

Launch ME2020

Creating a common language for a common vision

Sept 2017

Dean discussions

Launching small group conversations with faculty, students & staff

Nov 2017

Launching pillars

New pillars and implementation plans announced

Mar 2018

Culture pillar implementation

Public programs launched

Aug 2018

Research pillar implementation

Public programs launched

Jan 2019

Education pillar implementation

Public programs launched

Mar 2020

Maintaining momentum

Weather the COVID-19 pandemic and community/ societal difficulties

Aug 2020

DEI 1.0

Conclude first phase of strategic plan

June 2021

Moving deeper into DEI

Outline imperative for equity-centered engineering and launch community teams with education proposals

Nov 2021

Mapping the future

Conduct internal and external research to identify the future of engineering education

Mar 2022

People-first engineering

Establish new “people-first engineering” framework for success

July 2022

Launch OCCE

The Office of Culture, Community & Equity is established

Oct 2022

TEE Center

NSF funds the Teaching Engineering Equity Center