I’m sure we can all list so many benefits to the LDP, at multiple levels. One LDP benefit from our collective hard work for which I am most proud is the recent expansion, actually the exciting explosion in diversity of the LDP membership over the past few months.
A recent online article in Forbes asked, “Is Diversity Good for Business?”(Llopis, April 23, 2016). To honestly answer this important question involves more than insufficient discussions about equal representation, or a politically correct interpretation of diversity and inclusion (D&I), or especially some misguided attempt at quotas. Diversity is indeed “good”, in fact, it is essential to healthy growth for any organization that wants to be authentic, innovative, sustainable, successful… You get the picture. D&I are indispensable in leadership.
I think by now nearly everyone understands that tomorrow’s STEM leaders are in critical demand. That is why the LDP leadership is continuously working on multiple dimensions of diversity and inclusion. In the short time I have been involved with the LDP and through the leadership of Dr. DeRuntz we have worked to expand the LDP beyond the College of Engineering to include students majoring in the numerous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs from the other colleges at SIU, namely the College of Science, College Agricultural Sciences and College of Applied Sciences & Arts. Mission (almost) accomplished! We now have several of these STEM students from each college active in the LDP. The membership nearly tripled from last year! However, there is much more to this story.