Access and Equity
MHCI+D is committed to access and equity. We recognize the crucial role our graduates play in shaping technology and—as we reflect on how technology is often designed in a way that further harms people already facing prejudice, sexism, racism, and violence—we are committed to prioritizing critical inquiry, fostering psychological safety, and valuing lived experiences.1 2
We acknowledge the realities of structural inequality—a system of privilege that affords people more or less power and more or less access to resources, including higher education. In response to structural inequality in education, we have implemented a holistic review process, removing the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) requirement.3 We have also created DUB Fellowships to fund Black, African American, Hispanic, Latinx, Indigenous, and Pacific Islander students, nominating prospects for the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) Graduate Supplemental Awards and matching GO-MAP funds.
Moving forward and learning with each iteration, we commit to taking the following steps in the next year:
- Conduct a curriculum audit to include a diversity of voices and perspectives
- Establish a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leadership committee in collaboration with students, staff, and faculty
- Invite Indigenous community experts into the classroom and compensate them for their sharing their time and knowledge
- Promote the importance of representation among design and technology professionals by recruiting students with excluded identities4
- Seek out additional funding to support students with excluded identities
1 Psychological safety, as defined by Edmondson & Lei (2014), “describes people’s perceptions of the consequences of taking interpersonal risks in a particular context” such as a classroom or workplace. Google learned this was the most important factor in building successful teams.
2 Lived experience, as understood in qualitative research, is “a representation and understanding of […] human experiences, choices, and options and how those factors influence one’s perception of knowledge” (Given, 2008).
3 A holistic review process considers a range of factors (i.e., experiences, attributes, achievements, demographics) rather than only academic merit in the admissions selection process.
4 In their paper about inequity in engineering education, Walden et al. (2018) suggest using “excluded identities” rather than “underrepresented minorities” to underscore the role of educational institutions and professional communities as “active agents of exclusion” and to acknowledge “individuals may experience intersecting and compounding forms of marginalization or exclusion.”