Advancing Diversity Workshop holds 16th annual meeting on Jan. 15

Advancing Diversity WorkshopThe 16th annual Advancing Diversity Workshop takes place Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Latham Ballroom Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

The symposium has gathered an amazing pool of speakers to include:

A morning keynote address on Inclusive Excellence by Jean Zu. Zu is the dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering & Science at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Her research interests have focused on mechanical vibrations and dynamics and mechatronics with applications, including biomedical instrumentation and energy harvesting.

Zu arrived at Stevens Institute in 2017 as dean after serving as the chair for the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. She has more than 30 years’ experience in academia, where she published 165 journal papers and 165 conference papers. She has been awarded more than 50 research grants and contracts, primarily as principal investigator. Zu has also supervised close to 70 graduate students, including 36 Ph.D. students.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence grantees will be among the respondents who will describe how they are integrating inclusive excellence within their departments, with the goal of increasing underrepresented and first-generation enrollment in STEM disciplines. Those grantees include:

  • Jeannine Eddleton, senior instructor of chemistry in the College of Science.
  • Deborah Good, associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • Sarah Karpanty, associate professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

The second panel of the morning will initiate a discussion on White Men as Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP). The goal of WMFDP is to bring white men wholly on board in diversity efforts and to create candid and respectful teamwork that raises morale and leads to improved productivity and employee engagement. WMFDP helps organizations leverage diversity by equipping leaders with deep and lasting insight into the perspectives of others.

Julia Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering, is sending a team of four department heads to attend the program and commit to regular meetings to share their experiences with the program. They include:

  • David Cox, professor and department head, chemical engineering.
  • Sam Easterling, Montague-Betts, professor and department head, civil and environmental engineering.
  • Jack Lesko, associate dean for research and graduate studies, College of Engineering.
  • Luke Lester, professor and department head, electrical and computer engineering.

In addition to the panels, units across campus will present poster exhibits of local initiatives that advance the diversity strategic goals. There will also be recognition of the final group of Diversity Ally and Advocate Certificate holders.

AdvanceVT initially began in 2003 with a grant from the National Science Foundation to promote and enhance the careers of women in academic science and engineering through institutional transformation. Grant funding continued until August 2010. Currently, high-impact initiatives continue with support from university partners and have been expanded to include all faculty in all disciplines.

If your unit is interested in showcasing an initiative, register to do a poster.

For more information visit and to register please visit the event webpage.

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