Friday November 3, 2017

Developing Strategies for Navigating a Diverse Workplace

By Sandy Furterer and Kelly Fritz Mofield, School of Engineering

“Diversity doesn't just happen. It takes work.” –Dean Eddy Rojas, School of Engineering

Last spring, Dr. Sandy Furterer, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Management, Systems and Technology, and five engineering students piloted a new Leadership and Engagement for Diversity course (ENM 595/ISE 499) at the University of Dayton.

The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of how leadership and diversity combine to enhance creativity, productivity and innovation. Students gain an awareness of the barriers, biases and challenges to diversity in engineering, while also learning strategies that can be used to improve satisfaction in the engineering workplace and in academia. The goal is to enhance leadership skills for the engineering workplace and allow students to develop a personal vision statement to guide them through their life and career.

“This course is important for both men and women to increase awareness, engage everyone in helping to solve problems and mold the evolving workplace culture for a more diverse tomorrow,” Furterer said. “The principles and skills learned can help differentiate students’ résumés, especially with companies that embrace a diverse workforce.  It provides women and underrepresented minority professionals with strategies to keep them engaged in engineering, both in academia and the field, as well as helping them gain allies that can help them advance in their careers. The course helps men become allies to moving women forward in their engineering careers.” 

Feedback from students who took the course in spring 2017 was positive:

“This course creates a vision of our personal growth.  It is a complete overall course on life, its characteristics, other managerial skills and last but not the least it encourages you to be a good leader.”

“The most beneficial part that I learned from this course is that I understand how to organize my life and how to make a specific step-by-step plan to achieve my goals.”

“I used to think I could never be a leader. I am not afraid to think about myself as a leader; I started to imagine that I could be a leader now.”

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