Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion

Berkeley Engineering believes that a diverse student body, faculty and staff are critical to our mission of Educating Leaders, Creating Knowledge and Serving Society.

The college’s faculty and staff are deeply involved in the programs listed here — which support first-generation students, underrepresented minorities, women, transfer students, veterans and others — and they provide significant backing for ongoing and expanded opportunities. These and other Berkeley Engineering programs help our students develop academically, professionally and as leaders. 

First-generation student retention programs

The college’s signature retention programs are the Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) and Transfer Pre-Engineering Program (T-PREP), which benefit from substantial faculty support. These are residential summer bridge programs for first-generation and low-income incoming freshman and transfer students. Berkeley Engineering also offers a suite of Scholars programs in EECS, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bioengineering aimed at supporting primarily first-generation students through critical first-year courses specific to their major. Faculty play a key and growing role in the success of the retention programs above, and extensive opportunities exist to engage with our programs.

Academic excellence programs

We offer a robust suite of academic success programs and workshops on a variety of topics — such as time management, study skills, managing stress and anxiety, etc. — through the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence. Tutoring for 18 critical lower-division courses is offered free of charge; the center also provides access to a learning specialist and a mental skills coach. Many of these workshops are provided by faculty, and we aim to expand their participation in creating and delivering additional workshops that will even better prepare students.

Leadership development

Our mission is to educate well-rounded engineering leaders, and to that end we offer a number of programs aimed at developing students’ leadership skills. Faculty actively engage with these programs in a number of capacities — as advisors, speakers and supporters.

  • LeaderShape is a six-day retreat where students develop their mission and vision as engineers.
  • The WILL seminar (Women Invested in Lifelong Leadership) connects students with women leaders from industry, academia and the public sector.
  • Berkeley Engineering provides funding and support for more than 70 student organizations, through which students enhance their educational experience and leadership skills.

Faculty can play a significant role by engaging with programs such as LeaderShape in a number of capacities; as faculty advisors to the student organizations; as speakers at seminars such as the WILL seminar; and many more.

Professional development

Berkeley Engineering and its participating faculty provide students the “cultural capital” needed to navigate the professional world through a number of programs.

  • We offer workshops on topics such as LinkedIn, networking, interviewing, resume preparation, presence and confidence.
  • We work with industry partners to provide info sessions, tech talks, hackathons and networking events that connect students with opportunities in industry.
  • Once each semester, our Networking & Etiquette Dinners at the Faculty Club give students invaluable insights into professional networking and dining etiquette.
  • The Momentum Speaker series, a TED Talk-style series of presentations, allows students to share their industry and research experience with their peers.

Faculty can play an influential role in developing students’ professional skills by taking part in programs such as the Momentum Speaker series and professional workshops.

Undergraduate research

Research experience is critical for students on the academic track and for students intending to join industry. The skills and competencies gained through research are universally valuable: teamwork, collaboration, resourcefulness, resilience, innovation. We partner with industry and donors to fund research opportunities. Faculty provide invaluable research opportunities to undergraduate students, offering coaching and guidance to ensure successful research engagement. 

Outreach and yield

Berkeley Engineering has a significant and growing number of programs aimed at increasing the number of nontraditional applicants and admits into the college. These include:

  • The Overnight Host Program for women admits, in partnership with Berkeley’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.
  • Community College Visit Day and Transfer Admit Visit Day.
  • Girls in Engineering, a program to encourage and support girls in pursuing STEM. 

Faculty can play a significant role in increasing the number of applicants and admits from non-traditional backgrounds by partnering with the college in these and future outreach and yield events.

Graduate programs

Graduate Pathways to STEM (GPS), a partnership between Berkeley and Stanford, was created by Berkeley graduate students in 2015. GPS is a one-day conference aimed at inspiring diverse, first-generation and low-income California talent to pursue advanced engineering and science degrees. Faculty speakers often highlight their own pathway to graduate school, as well as emphasize the importance of diversifying the engineering field.

Berkeley Engineering Preview Days is a program in the spring semester designed for rising seniors who are interested in applying to Ph.D. programs in engineering. Participants receive ongoing advising from the Engineering Graduate Outreach office throughout the summer and admissions cycle. Faculty are critical in helping us admit and recruit these highly competitive underrepresented minority and female students to our graduate Ph.D. program.

Graduate Diversity Welcome is a new program launched in Summer 2017 to build community and address anxiety among first-year underrepresented minority doctoral students. Over the course of four days, students participate in activities that include panels of faculty and staff addressing first-year concerns, an industry/R&D career speaker, and community-building activities that include a campus scavenger hunt, a day trip to San Francisco, and brunch on the final day (Sunday). All activities include current graduate URM students. Faculty provide not only advice and reassurance about first-year concerns, but also have a candid conversation with students explaining the nationwide importance of their potential and success as URM Ph.D. students in engineering.

Faculty initiatives

Our faculty members have a significant role in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Through campus-wide programs, they have access to classroom tools and equity advisors that can help them improve classroom climates and create learning environments where all students can thrive. They can also enroll in a faculty dialogue series to learn inclusive teaching and learning strategies directly from their peers. Our faculty members often serve as mentors to more junior faculty, which promotes a supportive academic environment across the college.