Dr. Shaun Ghafari P.Eng.
Dean, Engineering, Humber College
Chair, Electronic Engineering Program Advisory Committee (PAC) Humber College & Vice-President of National Field Operations, Rogers Communications
Humber College is undertaking a variety of initiatives to address the lack of diversity in STEM.
It’s 2023, and yet a lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields remains a challenge. Humber College is dedicated to challenging the underrepresentation of equity-deserving groups and ensuring its STEM education is inclusive and taught by diverse faculty.
“Historically, STEM fields lacked diversity and as a result, engineering problems were solved through only one lens,” says Dr. Shaun Ghafari, dean, Engineering at Humber College. “Today’s challenges need innovative solutions that come from engineering teams that are multi-disciplinary and diverse. At Humber, we are building these teams in our faculty, our staff, and our students.”
Smart EDI initiatives
As a leader in STEM education, Humber has undertaken a variety of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives to address the lack of diversity in STEM.
The diversity of the student body is reflected in their diverse faculty members and instructors, who are role models for students’ future success. Humber has also implemented training for staff and faculty on how to embed EDI into the curriculum. These are just some of the school’s initiatives that instill a set of values in students known as the Humber Learning Outcomes, says Ghafari.
Today’s challenges need innovative solutions that come from engineering teams that are multi-disciplinary and diverse. At Humber we are building these teams in our faculty, our staff and our students.
“These values inform how we develop the curriculum, who teaches it, and whose experiences are reflected in the learning,” says Ghafari. “These mindsets are crucial for our graduates as they inform how to approach challenging situations and interact with others.”
The college’s EDI Toolkit, released in 2022, acts as a guide for faculty to apply EDI practices in the classroom to ensure students feel a sense of belonging, which in turn increases engagement, retention, and graduation rates.
“Humber really reflects on how it structures what it teaches, whose voices it surfaces and makes visible, whose experiences are reflected in the material, and whose knowledge is centered,” notes Firoozeh Khalily, Chair of Humber College’s Electronic Engineering Program Advisory Committee (PAC) and Vice-President of National Field Operations at Rogers Communications. “The more students feel a sense of belonging, the more likely they are to succeed, which increases representation in society as a whole.”
Humber works with its PAC members, like Khalily, to support engineering programs with current curriculum. “We help Humber create programs that are relevant by keeping the college connected to industry needs and trends,” says Khalily.
Humber’s three engineering degrees launched in 2021 and are now part of a new cluster within the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology that addresses skills gaps and keeps pace with the fast-changing field. Through industry partnerships, students are able to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom in a real-world setting using cutting edge technology found at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation at the college’s North Campus.
In addition to evolving to meet industry needs, Humber is committed to being a strong community partner by ensuring that its classrooms are environments where everyone feels a true sense of belonging.
Looking to gain a balance of theoretical and practical, hands-on learning? Consider Humber College. Learn more at appliedtechnology.humber.ca.