ABET honors Cal State L.A.’s legacy
of success in engineering diversity
Los Angeles, CA – ABET, Inc., the national accreditation organization for engineering education, bestowed upon California State University, Los Angeles yesterday its President’s Award for Diversity, citing the University’s decades of success in increasing diversity among engineering students and in the ranks of technology professionals.
ABET, which began 75 years ago as the Engineers Council for Professional Development, presented the award to Cal State L.A.’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at ABET’s Commission Summit at Lake Tahoe, Nev. The award recognizes “extraordinary success in achieving…diversity and inclusiveness in the technological segments of our society.”
In 1982, Cal State L.A. established within its Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Center a MESA Engineering Program (MEP). Over the past 25 years, MEP has supported roughly 2,500 undergraduate students at Cal State L.A. with year-long freshmen orientations, clustered advising groups and other efforts. Also, through enrichment programs, career exploration, financial aid advising and other efforts, a related program has encouraged more than 12,000 elementary, middle and high school students at 18 schools in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley—including 500 currently—to consider pursuing engineering.
Cal State L.A. has the highest percentage of underrepresented students enrolled in engineering of the more than 20 programs in California; and, according to U.S. News and World Report, its College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology has ranked among the top 25 percent nationally of master’s-granting institutions for the past eight years.
In an address to the American Council on Education earlier this year, Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser said, “Diversity with excellence shapes everything we do. We have a pervading institutional commitment to the involvement, with support, of students in the research, scholarly and creative activities of faculty; thereby ensuring that many of our students graduate with achievements such as publication in peer-reviewed journals. These achievements position our students for further, post-graduate success.
“This value is rooted deeply in our institutional culture,” Rosser said. “And, across the campus, people who work here know that the coupling of diversity with excellence is our legacy, our vision and our mission.”
According to a National Science Foundation-sponsored study, from 1975 to 1999, 184 African Americans with baccalaureate degrees from Cal State L.A. earned Ph.D.s—placing Cal State L.A. 20th in the country over that quarter century as the undergraduate origin of African Americans with doctorates—and as the No. 1 institution west of the Mississippi. From 1995 to 2004, 98 graduates from Cal State L.A. earned their doctoral degrees. Of them, 40 were either African American or Latino. This rate of under-represented diversity among alumni with Ph.D.s—about 41 percent—was almost double that of any of the other 22 campuses of the California State University system.
For additional perspective regarding the value of diversity in technology and the challenges of fostering it, feel free to contact Keith Moo-Young, dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at Cal State L.A.:
Relevant web sites
Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Among programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu