September 4, 2019 | 3:57 pm

This year, the Jacobs Institute will solicit feedback from our student community and revisit the design of our programs to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, in line with broader efforts in the College of Engineering and the university at large. Motivating this process is our commitment to supporting underrepresented students at Berkeley interested in exploring design, including first-generation students, minorities, women, and others.

The cultivation of diverse perspectives is of vital importance to the student experience as well as the design fields at large. Since our founding five years ago, the Jacobs Institute has prioritized interdisciplinary, team-based learning—a reflection of our belief that the best insights are gained through collaboration across difference. While Jacobs Hall is a hub for training design leaders through hands-on exposure to cutting-edge tools and ideas, we believe that this learning is only valuable when developed within a diverse community and in service to the broader public interest. 

Since our opening, we have worked to cultivate a message and atmosphere of welcome at Jacobs Hall. Through our fee waiver program, we support equitable access to our Maker Pass program. Under the title For Whom? By Whom? Designs for Belonging, our public programs have engaged debates concerning inclusion, accessibility, and justice in design. Working with campus partners, we have fostered initiatives that support underrepresented students interested in design and technology, from PREP and T-PREP to Girls in Engineering.

Our upcoming work surrounding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will offer an opportunity to gauge the success of these efforts and identify areas for improvement. Our research will begin this fall as we solicit input from our student community through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and targeted outreach to relevant stakeholders. This feedback will then be our guide as we consider ways to update and further develop our programs to ensure that all interested students have access to design resources at Jacobs Hall and are included as equal members of our community.

We invite all students to become a part of this process today by completing our Student Community Climate Survey. This short, anonymous questionnaire is an important tool for sharing your experiences at Jacobs Hall. It also offers opportunities to be involved in future focus groups and interviews. 

We will share further updates in the months ahead as our work unfolds. In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us for upcoming public events that explore new, inclusive futures for design and welcome questions and ideas from students, faculty, staff, and alumni at

Further reading

Engineering Dean Liu on Educating Inclusive Leaders, Creating Knowledge Equitably, and Serving a Diverse Society

Chancellor Christ on promoting Equity of Experience at Berkeley

The Daily Cal on the Undergraduate Student Diversity Project