Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council


DEI Suggestion Box

The College of Engineering is committed to fostering a welcoming equitable and inclusive environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the College. To lead our efforts in this area, in November of 2018 the College established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council made up of faculty, staff, and students. The committee has organized a series of Listening Posts through the 2019 spring semester to gather input about the climate in the College of Engineering in small group setting. Please see the Listening Post Dates and Locations tab for more information.

NEW - DEI Council Listening Post Summary, This document summarizes the feedback received at 15 different
Listening Posts during the Spring semester of 2019

Proposed Council Charge

  • Provide leadership within the College of Engineering to promote and achieve a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), especially racial/ethnic and gender diversity, as evidenced by the College’s policies and practices;
  • Assess the current state of the College of Engineering climate for DEI;
  • Lead the creation of the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan with input from faculty, staff, and students; oversee implementation of the Action Plan; assess the effectiveness of outcomes of the Action Plan; and
  • Advise the College about strategies and best practices related to recruitment and retention of female and underrepresented faculty, staff, and students.


Council Members (2019-2020)

Michelle Scherer Co-chair, Professor, Faculty at-Large Member
Cathy Koebrick  Co-chair, Director of Human Resources
Nicole Grosland  Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Erwei Bai    DEO of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Joseph Henry Outreach and Recruitment, Office of Graduate Inclusion, Graduate College
Tracy Peterson  Director of Diversity Programs and K-12 Outreach
Priyadarshini Pennathur Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Josh Atcher  Director of Tutoring, Academic advisor, staff at-large member
Marisol Contreras Graduate student, Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Jose Lopez Hernandez Undergrad Student, Computer Science and Engineering, Student Council VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Kristina Venzke Administrative Services Specialist for Diversity and Outreach Programs, Dean’s Office
Florence Boldridge External Advisor, Former Director of the Diversity and Women’s Programs at the University of Kansas School of Engineering


Date Time Location

Listening Post Group

2/18/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

Female Grad Students

2/27/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

URM Undergrad Students

3/5/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Female Faculty

3/7/2019 4:00-5:00 UCC Conf Room B

LGBTQ – Fac, staff, students

3/13/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

URM Grad Students

3/13/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Instructional Track Faculty – all ranks

3/27/2019 5:00-6:00 3220 SC

Female Undergrad Students

4/2/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

URM – Faculty and Staff

4/4/2019 12:00-1:00 3210 SC

Asst Professors – Tenure Track

4/18/2019 5:00-6:00 3210 SC

Open Undergrad

4/22/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

Open Grad

4/25/2019 12:00-1:00 3210 SC

Open Faculty

4/26/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Female Staff

4/29/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

International Grad and Undergrad

5/1/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Open Staff


College of Engineering DEI Initiatives
Due September 20, 2019

The College of Engineering (COE) and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council are committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for COE faculty, staff, and students.

The DEI council invites proposals for faculty, staff, or student led DEI initiatives within the college. Proposals can be up to $5,000. The DEI council has $15,000 available to award. We welcome proposals from individuals, teams, students, staff organizations, and/or departments. Student Organizations that apply must be recognized by the Center for Student Involvement (CISL) and the College of Engineering.

Please submit complete applications (no more than two pages) to Kristina Venzke (kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu) as a single pdf. Complete applications should include the following items:

  1. Initiative description. Describe what you or your group will do. 
  2. DEI rationale. Describe why/how you think your initiative will advance DEI in the college and the audience that your activities will impact. We encourage proposals that provide some rationale or evidence as to why they think their initiative will help improve DEI in the college.
  3. An estimated budget. Requested funds should not exceed $5,000 and funds must be spent by June 1, 2020. Please provide sufficient details for the committee to understand how the funds will be used. Note that purchasing merchandise for events is not eligible for this funding call.  For conference travel-related requests, please see the DEI Travel Grant application. However, this grant does allow travel costs to bring in speakers to the UI.

Proposals will be reviewed by the DEI council and awards will be announced by October 18, 2019

Spring 2019 DEI Initiatives Award Winners

Awardee Award amount Project Description
Black Girls Do Science $1,335

Support for the student organization NSBE’s program Black Girls Do Science. Black Girls Do Science is a one-day program encouraging underrepresented girls in 4th-8th grades to pursue a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field.

Lactation Room Supplies $427

Emergency supplies for the lactation room in Seamans Center.

Female Alliance of Civil Engineers (FACE) $750

The Female Alliance of Civil Engineers is a new student organization that began in November of 2018. The funding is for posters, apparel, and events to promote awareness of this new organization.

Society for Women Engineers (SWE) $1,000

Support of the SWE High School Conference, which invites high school juniors and seniors to campus to explore the many opportunities a degree in engineering can offer.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) $1,800

Support for WiSE programming for U of I women in STEM, including social, service learning events and personal development seminars.

Continental Crossings $2,000

Funding to support underrepresented student participation in the Continental Crossings service learning project in Bolivia.

Womxn’s Summit $600

Funding to support the Womxn’s Summit for underrepresented women to address issues of self-identity and coalition and to provide a space for women to feel empowered to impact social change.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) $1,367

Support for underrepresented students for conference travel


This new tuition and fees scholarship is open to all undergraduate students promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion activities in the College of Engineering. Twelve (12) scholarships of $500 each will be awarded in January 2020.  To apply, students must fill out the Qualtrics survey below, and provide either a Letter of Recommendation from a faculty or staff person or provide a self-nomination. As an example, the letter of recommendation or self-nomination could describe your activities as a MESA tutor, or member of a student organization, or any other activities related to the promotion of Diversity, Equity, and/or Inclusion in the College of Engineering.

Applications are due by November 1, 2019. Notifications of award status will be sent by December 2.

Please fill out an application via this Qualtrics survey link:  
DEI Council Undergraduate Scholarship Application

At the end of the survey, you will be asked to upload your letter of recommendation or self-nomination, accepted only in PDF format.

The letter of recommendation or self-nomination should provide: 

  1. A description of the activities in which you intend to participate or organize to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in the College of Engineering, 
  2. Who is the audience the activities will impact, and 
  3. What results do you hope to see following the activity. 

Other requirements:

  1. You must be an undergraduate student.
  2. The activities must take place during the Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semesters. 
  3. You must be a registered student in the spring 2020 semester to be eligible for the scholarship.
  4. You agree to provide a short final report and photos (if applicable) following the end of the activity.

Questions can be directed to kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu or 319-335-5614. 

Each semester, the DEI Council plans to award six $500 travel awards to students in the College of Engineering (undergraduate or graduate). The travel awards are available to encourage and facilitate student opportunities to travel to national/international meetings, symposia, conferences, or other professional development opportunities that provide training or opportunities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Apply here:  Qualtrics Link to DEI Council Student Travel Award

Submission/Notification Dates:

The Fall 2019 funding cycle deadline is September 20, 2019. Awards will be announced by October 18. 

The Spring 2020 funding cycle deadline is January 30, 2020. Awardees will be selected by the DEI council and announced by February 14.

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for a DEI Council Travel Award you must:

  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student in the College of Engineering.
  • Provide a brief statement (1/2 a page) of how attending this conference will contribute towards your professional development goals regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (upload in Qualtrics survey).
  • Provide documentation of the conference you will attend (or have attended), by providing the website, program, etc. The conference must be demonstrably related to promoting or facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, you might attend the NSBE, SHPE, AISES, SACNAS or other similar conferences, or the conference program must address DEI-related issues (in Qualtrics survey).
  • Travel between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. All funds must be spent by June 10 for summer travel – please speak to your department administrator.
  • Complete the Application Form and submit it to Kristina Venzke at kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu

If you are selected to receive a DEI Council Travel Award, you must:

  • Provide all receipts for reimbursement.
  • Work with your departmental administrator to complete the Travel Expense Voucher after you return.
  • If, for any reason, you will not attend the conference, please notify kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu so that your award can be directed to another applicant.
  • Provide a follow-up report (one-two paragraphs) and photos (if possible) to kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu within a month of returning from travel.