March 5, 2021
Olin is proud to announce a major new undertaking that publicly strengthens our commitment to STEMM diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Olin has become a Charter Member of STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change initiative, the first undergraduate institution to do so.
By becoming a member of SEA Change, Olin will work through a structured process to identify barriers that could prevent inclusion and equity at our college, develop an action plan to address these barriers, and engage with an independent panel of experts for regular reviews of our progress. A big benefit of membership is that it will allow Olin to easily connect with the other educators who are on this same journey in order to share strategies for self-assessment and action planning.
Olin will also have access to a library of SEA Change’s resources that includes a research repository, trainings, and virtual events, to build our knowledge about what is needed to effect real change.
SEA Change is an initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that supports colleges and universities as they systematically become diverse, equitable, and inclusive institutions. The process for all members begins with a rigorous self-assessment of how various departments and policies within the institution address topics around equity, and the barriers that stand in the way for students, faculty, and staff from marginalized groups. Then, the focus shifts to cultivating educational environments that are truly equitable and supportive of all students in STEMM.
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Bioengineering, says they are excited to embark on this formalized endeavor. “It’s about engaging the whole community in an intentional, coordinated effort,” says Sarang-Sieminski. “Because the process is going to be driven by data, we’ll be able to use metrics to see where we stand, and where we need to go.”
Joining SEA change is an outgrowth of a commitment to equity that Olin president Gilda Barabino, Ph.D., brings to campus. “Dismantling systemic racism and inequalities in higher education will require efforts to think and operate in new ways,” says Barabino, who is also an AAAS fellow and who is deeply involved in many efforts to ensure fair, equitable, and inclusive treatment of both faculty and staff. “What’s needed in addition are efforts that promote institutional change.”
Engineering colleges are ideal places for breaking these things down and rebuilding, she says. “Olin is committed to applying a co-creation model of change that relies on a combination of leadership, shared responsibility and accountability, courageous and effective discourse, mutual understanding, community engagement, and design approaches that have the potential for meaningful change. The lessons learned in our process hopefully can be shared to help other colleges interested in achieving similar goals.”