Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

ABET staff, volunteers and leadership are committed to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion through global leadership in STEM education, incorporating the highest standards of professional integrity, dignity, fairness, justice and respect for everyone.

This page includes information and resources related to ABET’s initiatives in this important area.

Big 10+ Universities Deans of Engineering Letter of Support

On March 31, 2021, we received a letter of support from the Big 10+ Universities Deans of Engineering regarding the incorporation of diversity, equity and inclusion principles into ABET’s General Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs.

  • Click here to read the letter

ABET Principles of Diversity and Inclusion

Approved by the Board of Directors and Adopted by ABET on June 12, 2017

ABET accreditation is focused on programs producing graduates prepared to enter the global workforce in the applied and natural sciences, computing, engineering, and engineering technology professions. To succeed in these global professions, graduates must be prepared to thrive in diverse and inclusive environments.

ABET staff, volunteers, and leadership are committed to diversity and inclusion through developing and using the talents of all persons who study or work in our fields of interest. Our global professions require creativity and innovation, which are best achieved when persons with varied perspectives, experiences, and talents work toward a common goal.

We believe that understanding and experiencing diversity and inclusion in higher education are critical to competitiveness, innovation, and our social and economic futures. Further, we expect our accredited programs to support this vision.

We are committed to

  • promoting diversity and inclusion in accreditation operations and governance through the work of staff, volunteers, and leadership;
  • encouraging diverse talents to be used in accreditation operations and ABET governance; and
  • promoting inclusive practices and diversity in our accredited educational programs.

Definitions: Establishing Common Language

The following definitions have been approved by the ABET Board of Directors and serve as a reference point for our conversations and materials about inclusion, diversity and equity.

  • Inclusion

    Inclusion is the intentional, proactive, and continuing efforts and practices in which all members respect, support, and value others. An inclusive environment provides equitable access to opportunities and resources, empowers everyone to participate equally, and offers respect in words and actions for all.

  • Diversity

    Diversity is the range of human differences, encompassing the characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, the following characteristics: race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, religious beliefs, work sector, physical ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, and cognitive differences.

  • Equity

    Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all people, achieved by intentional focus on their disparate needs, conditions and abilities. Achieving equity requires understanding of historical and systemic patterns of disparity to address and eliminate barriers, and remove participation gaps as part of a comprehensive strategy to achieve equitable outcomes and social justice.

Statements on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

  • ABET Statement of Support for the Asian and AAPI Communities

    March 24, 2021

    Over the past year, the United States has experienced an increase in acts of xenophobia, racism, harassment and violence against the Asian and Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. From inflammatory rhetoric related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s location of origin, to the recent fatal shooting of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were of Asian descent, these acts of intolerance and escalation in violence must be addressed.

    We condemn these attacks and stand in solidarity with the Asian and AAPI communities.

    As a global leader in STEM education, we work to incorporate the highest standards of professional integrity, dignity, equity, fairness, justice and respect for everyone into our principles and practices. We encourage all our member societies and our professional community to stand up and speak out, unite against racism and injustice and take actionable steps to build a more inclusive and equitable society.

    If you or your organization would like to share and/or collaborate on actionable steps we can implement in support of the Asian and AAPI communities, please contact ABET’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory (IDEA) Council at IDEA@abet.org.

    Dianne Chong
    2020-21 President

    William J. Wepfer
    2020-21 President-Elect

    David P. Kelly
    2020-21 Past President

    Michael K. J. Milligan
    Executive Director
    and CEO

  • ABET’s Commitment to Support Anti-Racism and Justice

    June 15, 2020

    The long history of systemic oppression, stigmatization, criminalization and injustice of Black people and other minority communities have created a society with two unequal realities. The Black Lives Matter movement speaks directly to systemic racism, systemic inequalities with access to education, health care and opportunities, and the persistent devaluing of Black lives due to past and current discrimination and bias, practices, policies, procedures and laws.

    ABET stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to end systemic racism. This is consistent with our core values and commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity.

    ABET believes that all components of modern society must recognize and prioritize equity and justice as fundamental human rights, and Black lives do matter. We all must begin working collectively through STEM education to build a fair and better system that does not discriminate against Black people and other communities of color.

    ABET understands that as our concern for each other has never been more important, our voices as leaders in STEM must be used to drive positive change and call on others to do the same.

    ABET encourages all member societies and our professional community to stand up and speak out, unite against racism and injustice and take actionable steps to engage, dialogue and build a more inclusive and equitable society.

    Our diverse humanity is our greatest asset. It is time for our collective practices, procedures, policies, regulations, standards and laws to reflect our priorities and drive for accountability around inclusion, diversity, equity and justice across the STEM community.

    ABET is confident that, together, we can make a difference by using our collective assets to solve complex challenges in laboratories, workplaces, communities and our personal spaces.

    ABET is committed to this change through global leadership in STEM education, incorporating the highest standards of professional integrity, dignity, equity, fairness, justice and respect for everyone.

    To provide space for discussion on this topic, ABET’s IDEA Council (IDEA@abet.org) would like to hear from you about suggestions, comments and actionable examples you and your constituencies are implementing in support of the Black community.

    David P. Kelly
    2019-20 President

    Mary Leigh Wolfe
    2019-20 Past President

    Dianne Chong
    2019-20 President-Elect

    William J. Wepfer
    2020-21 President-Elect

    Michael K. J. Milligan
    Executive Director
    and CEO

  • ABET’s Commitment to Positive Change

    June 6, 2020

    The recent events across the United States have painfully affected all our communities.

    As an organization that focuses on STEM accreditation, ABET believes that education and lifelong learning are ways through which we bring change to the world. We exist to provide confidence that graduates of programs in the applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology professions are prepared to enter an increasingly diverse and global workforce.

    When we honor and respect our differences, we strengthen our ability to solve some of the most pressing and increasing global challenges — inequality, peace and justice, quality education, poverty, hunger, and climate change, among the challenges outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    STEM professionals play a critical role in designing solutions to make the world a better place — one that is safer, more efficient and more sustainable — and to develop solutions that benefit the lives of all people. Our workforce must be comprised of people from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and personal experiences. We must be intentional and proactive in creating environments that respect and embrace our differences and carefully examine historical and systemic patterns of disparity to address and eliminate barriers to achieving social justice.

    We recognize there is much work to be done, and the members of the ABET community — our staff, volunteers and leadership — stand committed to our value of continuous improvement. We will work tirelessly to identify and implement solutions that support the goals of fair treatment, equitable access, opportunity and advancement for all people.

    The problems we face are not isolated to one group or one community — they are everyone’s problems, and we must all be part of the solution. ABET expresses our deepest and heartfelt commitment to positive change and human progress.

    David P. Kelly
    2019-20 President

    Michael K. J. Milligan
    Executive Director and CEO

2021 ABET Symposium Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Session Recordings

Barriers to Implementing IDE in the Workplace: Raising Awareness of Educators and Students

Panelists discuss existing and emerging issues that are, or may become, barriers to the implementation of inclusion, diversity and equity in the workplace environment, as well as approaches to raise awareness of such challenges in preparing graduates to enter the workforce.

Encouraging the Retention of Women in Engineering

Despite the increasing efforts to keep young women interested in STEM before college, once there, a sizeable number of them will still end up leaving engineering majors for non-STEM related fields. This session discusses a variety of possible approaches for the retention of women in engineering and explores the outcomes and impact of those programs.

Evolving Global IDE Landscape in the Workplace and Workforce: Impact on Student Preparation

Panelists describe the developing landscape with respect to inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE) in the workplace and workforce in their regions of the world, as well as educational responses to a changing workplace environment.

ABET Member Society Resources

ASCE’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion page includes news and resources such as videos, reports and articles, as well as strategic partners and alliances and more. 

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ASEE’s Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion site offers articles, newsletters and reports, session materials, workshops, awards information and more.

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The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ page includes a podcast, videos, statements from the CEO and information about the Women in Standards & Certification (WiSC) initiative.

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The American Welding Society’s initiatives include the society’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the AWS Future Leaders Program.

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The BME Organizations Leading Diversity (BOLD) initiative coordinates a national, BME community response to the longstanding racism in our nation.

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The Construction Management Association of America provides a statement of values, policy framework, code of professional conduct and a committee on diversity, equity & inclusion.

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IEEE resources and guidelines include a code of ethics, virtual user experience lab accessibility tools, best practice videos, IEEE society initiatives and more.

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The National Society of Professional Engineers offers articles, a list of activities and interviews with members of the NSPE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

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The Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee works to advance the society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through advocacy, collaboration and education.

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SPIE provides news and events, community resources, information about Women in Optics, a best practices toolkit and more.

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WEPAN is the nation’s first network dedicated to advancing cultures of inclusion and diversity in engineering higher education and workplaces. This site offers culture-transforming projects and professional development.

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The Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology. SWE offers a variety of  resources, such as workbooks, card decks and eLearning courses. 

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The TMS Diversity & Inclusion Committee seeks to advance TMS’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the minerals, metals and materials science and engineering fields.

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