Carnegie Mellon University

Text graphic: DEI - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

February 19, 2021

CEE DEI Committee Builds on SDG Goals

The movements toward equality and acceptance have played out across the media—and at CMU. At the university, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are integral to CMU’s Sustainability Initiative which builds on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), also known as Global Goals. The initiative supports the broader definition of sustainability afforded by the world's SDG, also known as the Global Goals.

And as CEE students transition from the classroom to the workforce, it’s essential that they’re prepared to think broadly and inclusively, says Professor Burcu Akinci. “We want to make [DEI] a part of their discipline—to make them much more aware and incorporate [DEI] into their thinking as they design, build, and manage teams in the future.”

To meet this goal, CEE implemented a strategic plan that incorporates DEI practices into all levels of the department—from coursework to research to hiring. The plan is based on the fundamental principle that faculty, staff, and students should have the opportunity to succeed and to thrive. “It is imperative that the College be a diverse community that reflects the gender, racial, ethnic, and other demographic profiles of our regional, our national, and our global constituencies.”

The plan also emphasizes recruitment and retention of members of groups that have historically been underrepresented in American higher education, or in certain engineering disciplines.

Ensuring that the strategic plan represents all levels of CEE, the department formed a committee comprised of nearly 20 faculty, staff, undergraduate, and graduate students. Their charge—to make DEI an everyday part of life—on campus and beyond. The committee is co-chaired by professors Akinci and Greg Lowry.

The committee’s work closely mirrors the ambitions of 2021’s United Nations World Day of Social Justice, an event designed to “support efforts by the international community to search for solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all.”

Akinci states that the all-volunteer committee meets often and reports back to the department to keep DEI top-of-mind. “We know that this touches everything we do. We continue to strive for diversity in the department – to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and belongs to the CEE community.”


This story demonstrates CMU's work toward attaining Sustainable Development Goal 10 of the 17 Global Goals to create a more equitable and viable planet by 2030.