The Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering at the University of San Diego has been awarded a $2 million grant to revolutionize engineering education, USD said.

According to the school, under the five-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s “Revolutionizing Engineering Departments” (RED) project, the school will develop student engineers who are “changemakers” for social justice, economic development and sustainability on a global scale. The effort will build on the university's designation as one of 30 Ashoka U Changemaker campuses in the world and one of two in California.

The school said its program will include efforts to attract more women and members of underrepresented groups to engineering, develop new courses tying technical concepts to global issues and change the culture of engineering education, both at USD and nationally.

“This is an exciting opportunity to transform engineering education to meet the social, technological and environmental challenges of the 21st century,” said Chell Roberts, dean of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

“Solutions and innovations for the world require a diverse group of engineers,” Roberts said. “This grant will help change the demographics of engineering students and help us attract a more diverse faculty.”

According to USD, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering currently has about 500 students, including 28 percent of whom are women and 23 percent from underrepresented groups. Those percentages are higher than the national average, but Roberts thinks the school can do even better. “Our goal is to increase women engineering students to 50 percent and significantly increase our population from underrepresented groups,” Roberts said.

Out of more than 100 applications, USD said it was one of only six schools and the only private institution to be awarded a RED grant from the NSF in the current round of funding.