The engineering profession as a whole has struggled for some time in attracting and retaining people of diverse groups (i.e. women, minorities, and assorted ethnicity). Civil and environmental engineers have shared in the challenge to engage individuals with various backgrounds in our profession to improve, develop, and garner an in depth perspective for building a stronger team to address the problems of today and tomorrow. At the national and regional level, there is an ongoing debate about insuring inclusiveness while preserving uniqueness when it comes to the myriad demographics used to characterize the individuals within our profession. Furthermore, it has been realized that each person has individual issues that impact their academic performance and career development.
The Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), in concert with the support of the American Society of Civil Engineers, has established the CEE Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Council (formerly the Undergraduate Women Advisory Council) to help address the professional development needs and personal concerns of individuals among the various groups in the school. This Council is a group of students representing different segments of the student population in CEE. The team of students working through the JEDI Council have diverse academic standing, academic class, gender, and ethnicity with representation on a central advisor group.
The mission of the council is to instill the fundamental values of all engineers, which is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, in the student body. To do this within the Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Mississippi State University, the following characteristics will be upheld:
Those serving on the JEDI Council have accepted the responsibility to advocate for student needs and act as an intercessor between all of the students and faculty of the school. The group strives to assist all CEE students in cultivating an atmosphere of open communication concerning issues such as the organization, agenda, and overall tasks of the department, allowing each voice to be heard. In this regard, the Council shall act as the personal advisory council to the School Director and give support to the goals and plans for the school. Therefore, since its creation, the this group has taken on the responsibilities associated with attracting prospective students, increasing engagement both academically and socially, and providing a student’s perspective for the programs and activities of the department.
As part of these program, the members of the JEDI Council act as ambassadors of the program during recruiting events; meetings with prospective students, alumni, and friends of the school; and on other student groups supported in the college. As an initiative to give students a voice, the JEDI Council has created an online form for students to deliver their comments, suggestions, and concerns regarding activities of the School. This is achieved by the form linked on this page which facilities anonymity in submission of information. (See the link below.) This information is compiled and shared with the School Director on a regular basis