Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

ABET accreditation is focused on programs producing graduates prepared to enter the global workforce. To succeed, graduates must have the ability to thrive in diverse and inclusive environments. Our global professions require creativity and innovation, which are best achieved when people with varied perspectives, experiences and talents work toward a common goal.

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.

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

We have developed common language for discussing inclusion, diversity and equity that is consistent with ABET Principles of Diversity and Inclusion. Why is this important? Establishing common language will help us all understand the principles of inclusion, diversity and equity within ABET. This is critical to ensuring we are all talking about the same thing as we address and respond to issues and take action. 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’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

ABET’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory Council

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory Council (IDEA Council) promotes and develops evaluation methods and metrics for improving inclusivity, diversity and equity within ABET, its activities, its volunteer base and its accredited programs consistent with ABET Principles of Diversity and Inclusion.

Contact Us

ABET’s IDEA Council would like to hear from you. Please email IDEA@abet.org with your suggestions, comments and actionable examples you and your constituencies are implementing regarding inclusion, diversity and equity.