Lafayette College’s Engineering Division strives to provide an inclusive environment for all to learn, develop and thrive. We are committed to fostering a supportive and encouraging climate where all students feel welcomed and valued.

At the 2015 National Engineering Deans Meeting, an ad-hoc group of engineering deans including Lafayette’s Director of Engineering, Scott Hummel, proposed a program aimed at increasing the diversity of students and faculty in engineering. The resulting Engineering Deans Diversity Initiative has been signed by over 225 engineering deans nationally. The initiative calls for each engineering program to commit to developing a diversity initiative.

Highlights of Lafayette’s diversity and inclusion activities, statistics, and programs include:

  • Lafayette women engineers comprise one-third of the engineering students doing research – participating in research opportunities at a significantly higher rate than their male peers.
  • Over the last decade, women engineering graduates from Lafayette have gone on to graduate school in greater numbers than their male counterparts – 25% of women versus 19% of men.
  • The percentage of full-time female faculty members in Lafayette’s engineering programs has risen to 22%. (The national average is 13.9% according to ASEE.) The retention rate of women faculty members exceeds the rate for men.
  • Lafayette has partnered with the Posse Foundation since 2002 to identify and support high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The College initially enrolled students from New York City, and became just the fifth institution to enroll posses from more than one city when it enrolled its first posse from Washington, D.C. in 2006.
  • Lafayette is working with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a college access organization based in New York City and San Francisco. Since 1963, SEO has helped more than 11,000 young people from underserved and underrepresented communities gain access to higher education. SEO’s mission is to provide an eight-year academic program that helps students from underserved public high schools get into and through college (with a 95% graduation rate).
  • Lafayette is working with Global Citizen Year (GCY), which organizes bridge (or gap) year programs through service learning opportunities in Senegal, Ecuador, Brazil, and India. While a bridge year generally does not improve changes for admission to a selective university, program alumni are more often on track to graduate in four years. GCY is able to make the bridge year more accessible to a broader range of students.

Initiatives and programs

  • The identification of external funds to support the Lafayette chapter of the Society of Women Engineers’ programming and networking for women students and alumni.
  • The initiation of a research shadowing program in which high-school girls shadow Lafayette research students.
  • The introduction of the Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars program to provide women engineering students with paid, faculty-mentored, on-campus research opportunities.
  • Logistical support for Minority Scientists and Engineers peer tutoring program.