Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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The Department of Microbiology commits to promoting an environment that actively engages topics of equality, diversity, and inclusion among undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. We acknowledge the biases and harms that our discipline has contributed to within science, including but not limited to: targeted experimentation on marginalized populations to study the effects of infectious disease; neglect of microbial agents not deemed important to those in places of power; and a lack of public engagement in the scientific process. To correct these choices, we commit to actively find and construct ways to build equity, and to use our position as a nationally-recognized Microbiology department to work for change within our discipline. 

Diversity acts to better our department community and science. We celebrate that the department includes individuals with a wide array of experiences and viewpoints and commit to increasing this diversity, which includes race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious commitments, national origin, language, age, ability status, and political persuasion.  It is well established that diverse groups have greater success because of the ability to see a challenge from multiple perspectives and identify creative solutions to solving it. By working to enhance diversity within the department’s culture, we will also improve our science and explore new avenues of investigation.

For example we are:

  • Actively recruiting potential students from various backgrounds and experiences by being present at national-level meetings and establishing relationships with colleges
  • Including underrepresented people in faculty searches so the faculty more accurately reflects the population it serves
  • Focusing on retention of diverse students to ensure each individual’s success  

Equity works to build up all individuals within a community so they may take advantage of the full range of available opportunities to engage their potential. We commit to promoting equity within the department, not only through the absence of harm but through the presence of support. We commit to helping students, staff, and faculty build a department of respect and elevation, where the contributions of all are highlighted.

For example we are:

  • Providing mentorship sessions to trainees in computational approaches to microbiology
  • Supporting graduate and undergraduate Microbiology student organizations
  • Engaging undergraduate student groups to demonstrate the range of people working within the department and discipline

Inclusion is only possible through active engagement of these principles so that all within the department feel they and their contributions are acknowledged. We commit to building an inclusive environment in the department where individuals who have often been left out by molecular and academic science are supported. This moves beyond acknowledging differences in experiences to building a community where different experiences can exist within a comfortable space. 

For example we are:

  • Engaging underrepresented students in applying to the program through a presence at national meetings and visits to minority-serving institutions
  • Holding departmental-wide events including Happy Hour and a holiday party
  • Being receptive to criticism and changing existing structures based on feedback (feedback can be provided to Matt Anderson)