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Transforming Our Community

ISD leadership has embraced a positive learning organizational model to create a place where people thrive to exceed expectations and where a systems approach is taken to transfer knowledge in adapting to organizational changes. 

In this approach, ISD embraces and prioritizes continuous learning, growth, and innovation in every facet of our culture. We encourage our team to always learn, develop new skills, and take unconventional approaches to their work. We engage and empower leaders to collaborate, commit, and engage in courageous conversations.

Planned outcomes include sustainable practices, double loop learning with five key disciplines in systems thinking, identifying and practicing behaviors that contribute to a positive learning organizational culture and creating systems and processes for supporting a positive learning approach to organizational change.

Our mission is to transform our work, our culture, and our lives!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Fundamental to Our Success

Our ISD DEI Committee initiates, plans, and leads our DEI efforts.
The committee includes students, faculty, and staff leaders, and supports the University DEI strategic plan and the College of Engineering: Beyond the five-year plan

DEI Goals

  • Serve as an advisory committee that recommends DEI best practices, identifies challenges, and makes recommendations for ISD DEI strategic initiatives.
  • Enhance DEI awareness and understanding among the ISD students, staff, and faculty.
  • Organize activities to engage students, faculty, and staff in DEI related dialog and events.
  • Identify ways in which DEI principles can be strengthened through integrative systems and design in the area of education, research, practice and community.

DEI Mission 

Advance integrative engineering practices that support the design of technical systems that create and deliver a lasting impact on the world at large.

DEI Value Statement

The mission of ISD is to advance integrative engineering practices that support the design of technical systems that create and deliver lasting value to our world. We realize this mission by identifying needs and creating equitable solutions using a process that fully includes the perspectives, concerns, insights, capabilities and technical skills of a global and diverse community. In this way, our commitment to DEI is fundamental to our success. Through our programs and initiatives, we aim to enhance our awareness and understanding of the diverse identities and experiences of our local and global community, and foster greater connection and engagement with each other.

Supporting Statements

Drawing on the skills and experiences of diverse perspectives, we create engineering solutions for the global challenges of our generation and develop people with a deep sense of purpose who have the character, capabilities, and connections to transform the world through engineering. We recognize diversity is manifested in many different ways, including, but not limited to differences of race, age, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, migratory status, disability/abilities, political affiliation, veteran status and socioeconomic background.

ISD Leadership Award for DEI

This annual award is presented to an ISD student or team of students who promote and embody the spirit and ideas of DEI. Nominees must be ISD students at the time when they made the contributions to DEI and the focus of their effort may be either within or beyond the university. For more information, visit ISD Honors and Awards page.

ISD DEI Action Summit

The ISD DEI Committee hosted the ISD DEI Action Summit: Inclusive Engineering in Practice in April 2023. The summit included speakers, a panel discussion, and focused on ISD methods used in empowering an engineering mindset that are inherently improvisational, learned through skilled practice and sensory attentiveness to one’s surroundings. Learning the craft of research could be thought of as following a long tradition of handing down knowledge from craft practitioners to apprentices. This type of situated learning, based on legitimate peripheral participation, is common to many learning encounters. This summit will showcase methods of empowering education through community practices. 

DEI Enrichment

ISD hosts the DEI Enrichment Series: Sparking Transformative Conversations. The purpose is to help build core DEI competencies in two parts, Listening for Deep Learning and Collaborative Conversations for Transformations. 

Listening for Deep Learning

Go beyond daily hearing and listening to intentional and reflective listening that will enable deep learning. Innovative solutions depend on skillful listening across diverse perspectives to develop integrative, foundational skills. This can be a challenge when the stakes are high for building trust and high-quality relationships. Advance your skills for deep learning and prepare yourself to help meet the seemingly impossible challenges of our times.

Collaborative Conversation for Transformations

Collaborative conversations are often most needed when facing high-stake challenges. At the same time, diverse perspectives can impose multiple boundaries that make collaborative conversations even more difficult. Building effective skills for collaborative conversations provides a path forward to necessary transformational change in meeting such challenges.

DEI Resources

Student Life

Get Involved

ISD hosts a number of events and activities throughout the year to engage students. These include ISD community feasts, movie nights, holiday parties, program nights, career weeks, and much more. 


ISD’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) includes student members from each ISD graduate degree program to represent the student community. The committee meets several times throughout the year to provide feedback to ISD leadership, plan student events, and brainstorm other ways to foster an active ISD student community. 

U-M Student Life

The U-M community offers a variety of clubs, recreational sports, and other activities to supplement student life outside of the classroom, including

  • U-M Maize Pages: Directory of the hundreds of student clubs at U-M
  • The Michigan Daily: U-M’s student-run newspaper
  • U-M Recreational Sports: Includes several campus gyms, group fitness classes, club sports, and more
  • U-M Athletics: One of the most competitive and prestigious college athletics departments in the nation; learn how to buy tickets for sporting events and get ready to cheer on the Victors.

Faculty and Staff

Cultivating a Positive Culture 

ISD established new goals and objectives to focus on ensuring a robust and thriving work environment while providing the highest quality services.

Our goals:

  • Clarify leadership roles, responsibilities, operational hierarchy.
  • Clarify staff team roles and responsibilities.
  • Develop/document feedback and evaluation loops.
  • Develop/document operational standards and norms.
  • Document effective workflows in all areas.
  • Conduct stakeholder analysis of key operations. 
  • Ensure appropriate project management support/tools in place.
  • Continue to review/implement work environment resources to ensure
  • addressing work-life balance, cultural expectations, workstyles, hybrid support, etc.