Promoting Diversity and Addressing Unconscious Bias

A. James Clark School of Engineering Interim Dean Robert M. Briber sent the following email this morning to the Clark School community:

Dear Clark School Community,

All of us are grieving over the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others whose names keep filling our hearts with sadness, over and over again. I have heard from some of you, and share the shock and horror you feel over the injustice and racism embedded in our society.

My ardent hope is for us to come together as a community and turn the intensity of our feelings into actions that will ensure everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity or religious belief.

At the Clark School, we share a vision: Turning fearless ideas into innovations for public good. Promoting diversity and addressing unconscious bias is and has been essential to achieving that vision.

Engineers rise and fall on the strength of their teams and collaborations. Innovation and excellence in engineering design requires diverse teams: They are stronger and wiser, producing results that benefit everyone. When we embrace each other’s differences, it generates a breadth and depth of ideas that we could not otherwise achieve. This is the path to success in engineering and a better world for us all.

As Dean of the Clark School, it is of the utmost importance to me that we continue to build, grow and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment where we can all live, learn and work. Racism is not welcome. A lack of respect for others and their ideas is not welcome. Implicit bias that goes unaddressed is not welcome. To this end, we have initiatives to recruit, retain and graduate a diversity of leaders in engineering and science. With the help of the ADVANCE program, we have also been standing up TERP Allies to increase awareness of the biases that emerge in everyday work settings, so we can recognize and address them, and mitigate the harm they cause.

For those who are in need at this time, the University has resources to help. We offer professional services through the University Counseling Center (301-314-7651). Our College Diversity Officer, Associate Dean Hugh Bruck (, is available for individuals who need assistance or would like to be involved in our Diversity & Inclusion efforts. You can also visit the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for events and opportunities to connect, reflect, learn, and act.

We are Terps and engineers, and I am asking all of you to stand together in solidarity, work as a team and be fearless. Together, we can build a just, equal, and fair future for us all.


Robert Briber
Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland

Published June 2, 2020