An IDEAL Path to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers has released a new statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The document, which refines a statement issued in early 2020, is the result of an Institute-wide discussion that incorporated views from members of AIChE’s operating councils and the Board of Directors, and replaces an earlier statement issued in 2015. The latest statement was approved by AIChE’s Board of Directors in January 2021. The statement articulates AIChE’s belief that all who wish to be a part of the chemical engineering community should have equal opportunity to pursue and achieve success. It also proposes an IDEAL Path for progress, in an environment characterize by inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and learning. 

The IDEAL Path

The IDEAL Path concept was proposed by AIChE Director Cato T. Laurencin, who outlined his vision for creating a more fair and just society during a November 2020 meeting of AIChE’s Board of Directors. 

“IDEAL means Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Learning,” explains Laurencin. “Part of the impetus for the IDEAL Path is my belief that to truly have an inclusive society we must address racism, and be open to creating an environment of learning for all.” 

Laurencin, who is University Professor and the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut, describes the concept of the IDEAL Path in the video below, recorded on the occasion of his receiving the Herbert W. Nickens Award of the American Association of Medical Colleges. 

Laurencin adds that organizations outside of AIChE have expressed interest in adopting the IDEAL Path approach as they work to counteract systemic racism in the workforce and within institutions.

The core of AIChE's revised EDI statement

The core of AIChE’s revised statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion reads:

Solutions to 21st century problems require innovation and creativity, which are accelerated through diverse teams and by ensuring that spaces are inclusive. AIChE is committed to creating, nurturing and expanding an inclusive, respectful and welcoming environment where people of all backgrounds and identities are valued and respected and can achieve their full potential, regardless of: (i) race, ethnicity, or national origin; (ii) religious or spiritual practice, or absence thereof; (iii) sex, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation; (iv) family or relationship structure; (v) any type of disability or perceived disability, past or present; (vi) age; (vii) any ascribed status or visible or invisible difference. 

With the statement’s release, AIChE called upon all of its members, leaders, and collaborators to abide by the statement as a fundamental operating principle for all of their endeavors — within and outside their AIChE roles and activities. The complete statement is posted online at fontelearn.com/equity-diversity-inclusion/statement.