Alaine Allen named CMU College of Engineering’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer

Alaine Allen, Ed.D, describes herself as a “collaborative, strategic, and results-oriented leader with a commitment to equity and justice.”

Apparently, Carnegie Mellon University concurs.

Dr. Allen, the New Pittsburgh Courier has learned, is joining Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She will begin her new role on Feb. 1.

Dr. Allen formerly was the director of educational outreach and community engagement for Kindergarteners through twelfth-graders at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. She also served as director of pre-college and undergraduate diversity programs at the Swanson School of Engineering, where she built a team of professionals to develop student-focused, nationally recognized diversity and inclusion programs for college and pre-college students. At the helm, Dr. Allen helped increase the percentage of minority engineering students at Pitt with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from 36 percent in 2011, to 62 percent in 2018.

Dr. Allen earned a bachelor of science in Physics Education from Lincoln University, a Historically Black College near Philadelphia. She earned a master of education in Policy, Planning and Evaluation Studies and a doctorate of education in Higher Education Management, both from Pitt.

A release from CMU’s College of Engineering said that Dr. Allen will work to “foster an inclusive environment and welcoming culture to advance the college and university mission in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Dr. Allen will work closely with the college’s department and committee leaders, advancing DEI initiatives and developing “anti-racist practices.”

“Alaine is a wonderful fit for the College of Engineering with deep connections to the Pittsburgh region, as well as associations with several national professional organizations,” Jon Cagan, CMU professor of mechanical engineering and chair of the search advisory committee, said in a statement provided to the Courier.
Some of the professional organizations Dr. Allen’s been involved with include the American Educational Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, American Society for Engineering Education and the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates.

Dr. Allen has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lottie P. Edwards Community Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math from the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church Community Center; University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award; and National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program DIrector of the Year.
In the CMU College of Engineering’s Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, obtained by the Courier, there are six core principles of which the plan is rooted: Diversity recognizes, respects and values individual differences; Diversity embraces the realities and opportunities of society; Diversity is educating all people to be open to those different from themselves; Diversity is not “us” versus them, but “we”; Diversity is important for doing engineering well, and; Student diversity requires faculty diversity.

One of the strategic objectives from the plan is “to create and maintain a ‘critical mass’ of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups so as to obtain the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

“I am delighted for Alaine to join the College of Engineering as our new Associate Dean for DEI,” said Bill Sanders, dean of the CMU College of Engineering, in a statement provided to the Courier. “Alaine is a professional practitioner with longstanding experience in DEI coupled with formal training in this field.”

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