UC Berkeley College of Engineering announced a resource collection that will promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the Kresge Engineering Library on Sept. 24.
According to UC Berkeley College of Engineering professor and associate dean of equity and inclusion Kara Nelson, most of the books in this resource collection were not already kept in any university library. The collection is intended to be a resource for everyone on campus and is also a “living collection” that will be expanded according to student demand and suggestions.
The resource collection includes not only physical copies, but e-books, articles and other electronic resources as well, according to Nelson. Some of the categories in the collection include diversity in education, diversity in STEM, mentorship, pedagogy and teaching, and women in STEM.
“What this collection is, is part of our efforts to do everything we can to make sure every student has all the resources and support that they need to succeed and live to their fullest potential,” Nelson said.
Nelson added that the resource collection will help students and faculty in the college understand the root causes of discrimination and barriers that “underrepresented minorities face.”
According to Fatima Alleyne, UC Berkeley College of Engineering director of faculty engagement for equity and inclusion, the collection was started because students, faculty and staff said they did not feel welcome or included in the college.
“(The resource collection is an) opportunity for us as at college to better understand others who have cultural differences, to better communicate and create a more inclusive space for them,” Alleyne said.
ASUC Senator Omotara Oloye noted the lack of representation of minorities in the college and the challenges they face.
Oloye added that she believes diversity, equity and inclusion are important topics of conversation for the college.
“The collection at the library can foster an environment in which these conversations can occur,” Oloye said. “It is very important to think about including diversity, equity, and inclusion in the basic building blocks of knowledge such as books, CDs, and electronic resources. Not only can the conversation occur at the College (of Engineering), but also at the university as a whole.”
ASUC Senator Joseph Besgen also expressed his support for the resource collection. Besgen said the collection is a good start, but the College of Engineering should do more to make a lasting change.
To some, the resource collection may initiate overdue, albeit important, conversations.
“I find that people are uncomfortable talking about diversity issues or don’t know what we mean when we say diversity and inclusion,” Nelson said. “The best way for something to become less intimidating is to learn about it, and the best way to learn new skills is to practice them. (It is) the best way to gain new knowledge and be empowered by it.”