Dr. Leia Stirling

Professor in Industrial and Operations Engineering, Michigan Engineering

Dr. Stirling provides leadership for the newly formed Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) Diversity Committee. Leia has also taken responsibility for six new or ongoing initiatives designed to promote D-E-I within I-O-E. These include leading the charge to create a D-E-I statement for the I-O-E department, supporting faculty to meet D-E-I promotion criteria, providing faculty with a D-E-I statement,  creating a misconduct reporting page for syllabi, working with the unit administrator and faculty search committee on formalizing D-E-I evaluations for hiring, and incorporating D-E-I elements into her ENG 190 section. Leia also helped launch a new D-E-I Community Dialog series. The series features guest speakers and facilitated discussions. And, it allows faculty members, staff and students to learn, discuss, and share diverse ideas and viewpoints related to explicit or implicit challenges within the I-O-E community. 

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

“My personal most meaningful activity has been how I engage in the classroom through supporting students and bringing topics related to DEI into the class discourse. In both ROB 204 and IOE 265 I have brought in sociotechnical conversations and perspectives that support DEI themes. The engagement I received in the classroom was where I first felt great, but it was in the feedback I received from end-of-term reviews and follow-ups with students in later years that have had lasting meaning for me. For students to appreciate the role of diversity of perspectives, equity in design, and inclusion of our communities and to let me know they have a new perspective has been most rewarding.”

In envisioning the future, how would you describe progress in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion? What might it look like?

“As a member of the College of Engineering, progress is bringing in sociotechnical learning objectives into our courses so that students don’t feel that “technical” is separate from “society.” The choices we make in design influence real people and I would like to see students graduating that appreciate how to be socially engaged engineers.”

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

“I feel honored that the DEI work I am doing is being seen and appreciated by others. I have worked to support students and their education, as well as the programs in which I reside for as long as I have been in academia. To have my efforts, as well as the others who have been nominated, be seen highlights the value our community places on these efforts.”

Dr. Leia Stirling