Monthly Meetings Build Team Success with Diversity and Inclusion

Achievement date: 

Boston University (BU) holds monthly meetings featuring expert speakers to give students and faculty time and tools to promote the diversity, equity, and inclusion that is essential for overall success in their shared research community. Called “Inclusion Thursdays,” these meetings give participants time to reflect on their role(s) in the culture of inclusion in the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center in Cellular Metamaterials (CELL-MET), headquartered at BU.


CELL MET was established to work on solutions to heart disease by creating lab-grown heart tissue that can be used to repair damaged hearts, as well as serve as cardiac tissue platforms that can be used for heart physiology and disease research. At the same time, the Center works to design and build a climate that celebrates and fosters appreciation for cultural diversity and inclusion that allows stakeholders at every level to thrive. Because inclusiveness is essential to the Center’s success, it has committed resources to create and sustain an environment that is founded on understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences in race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious and/or political beliefs, and other dimensions of identity. By hosting monthly meetings, CELL-MET is able to support its people in learning and sharing key information to increase cultural awareness and competencies.


CELL-MET works to reach all Center constituents as frequently as possible with the message that diversity and inclusion lead to innovation. Therefore, a key part of CELL-MET’s vision is to develop multicultural leaders at all levels and to support all Center participants in building skills and acumen for cultural inclusion. The broad goals of the strategic plan for diversity and culture of inclusion are to:

  • Create and maintain a climate that values cultural diversity, fosters a sense of identity, inclusivity, and belongingness, generates opportunities for all constituents, removes barriers, and empowers constituents to achieve their full potential;
  • Increase cultural competencies of faculty, staff, and students within the Center;
  • Reduce health disparities within underrepresented and underserved communities by including patients from these communities in the research, clinical trials, and treatments;
  • Create opportunities for individuals to form diverse communities to contribute to the Center at all levels; and
  • Expand the pipeline of students from underserved and underrepresented groups through programming efforts for pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate-level students.

CELL-MET’s approach has included using climate surveys to gauge where we are as a community and cultural intelligence (CQ) sessions to measure and build cultural skill proficiencies.