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Last updated Tuesday, March 18, 2021 A Publication of the Office of Marketing & Communications

Professor Contributes to Article about Diversity in Engineering

Professor Zohaib A. Alvi
Professor Zohaib A. Alvi

Adjunct professor Zohaib A. Alvi, a member of the Department of Architecture and Construction Management, was asked recently by the National Society of Professional Engineers to contribute to an article about diversity in engineering. Here he summarizes some of what the article says:

  • On diversity quotas: “For engineering to progress as a profession, we need to change the idea of hiring people who are ‘not like us,’ and by implication, not ‘good enough.’ Removing our natural biases allows us to measure the skills that really matter, regardless of how ‘different’ the person is.”
  • On profitability vs. diversity: “Philosophically, engineering is a noble profession, since it is in service to the public. If demographics of that public are rapidly changing, then we must also re-calibrate our thinking toward diversity and inclusion to represent the public. From a business standpoint, profitability is best achieved when the skill sets of each individual are used efficiently, regardless of race or gender.”
  • On the lack of gender and racial diversity in engineering schools: “Change is already upon us, and newer generations are different and have their own ideas. Studies show that individuals under age 30 value company culture more than a high income, when compared to individuals over age 45.  In addition, most new graduates are mobile. If you have been hiring from the same schools and from the same area year after year, then it may be time to start recruiting from a variety of new schools.”
  • Is there discrimination against white males?: “Studies have shown that this perception does not match reality. Scientific American published an article about experiments that directly measured discrimination in cases where merit was not an issue. Whether the study covered job applications, emails from students to professors, etc., the findings clearly showed no discrimination. The NSPE code of ethics states ‘engineers shall treat all persons with dignity, respect, fairness and without discrimination.’ Hence, where discrimination exists, it must be addressed.”

Read the full article here.


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