Knight Campus to host diversity luncheon and panel discussion

Two women in lab

The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is putting diversity efforts into action with a free luncheon and panel discussion.

“Establishing a Culture that Values and Promotes Diversity in STEM,” slated for noon on Friday, Feb. 21, is open to the university community. It will feature academic leaders who are making strides to foster inclusion across the engineering field. Guests are asked to RSVP online by Monday, Feb. 17. Lunch will be provided.

Joining Knight Campus Vice President and Robert and Leona DeArmond Executive Director Robert Guldberg will be panelists Nancy Allbritton, Frank and Julie Jungers Dean of Engineering at the University of Washington, and Scott Ashford, Kearney Dean of Engineering at Oregon State University. University of Oregon Provost Patrick Phillips will moderate the discussion.

The candid conversation will examine the implementation of diversity plans and programs. The panelists will share some of the positive outcomes and challenges they have faced in recruiting and hiring.

Panelists will also assess the current state of diversity within the engineering field, while sharing advice for programs and administrators, lessons learned and creative solutions. Both Allbritton and Ashford are known for their successes in diversity and inclusion.

As one of the few female engineering deans in the country, Allbritton has helped support the UW’s Women in Science and Engineering Program and the Washington State Redshirt Program, which focuses on low-income and first-generation students studying engineering. 

During Ashford’s time as dean, he has doubled the number of female faculty, now ranking Oregon State University third among all public tier one research universities for the percentage of engineering faculty who are women. Ashford was awarded the 2019 Society of Women Engineers Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award for his efforts in advancing women in engineering.

Diversity and inclusion efforts play a major role in the Knight Campus Strategic Plan. In 2019, for the third consecutive year, the Knight Campus provided research support or travel funds for three student groups enhancing diversity and inclusion efforts in science: Students of Color Opportunities for Research Enrichment in biology; the North Star Project in Physics; and Community for Minorities in STEM.