The evolution of intentional DEI efforts in NatSci
In January 2009, then NatSci Dean R. James Kirkpatrick sent out a memo announcing that the college's Women's Advisory Committee was renamed the College Advisory Council on Diversity and Community (CDC), with a significantly increased charge to advise the college concerning issues relevant to women and minoritized groups, and to undertake specific projects in these areas.
Immediate projects included identification and dissemination of tools and resources for handling work-life balance, enhancing recruitment and retention of more diverse STEM faculty and creating environments where diversity in background and lifestyle is acknowledged as an asset in advancing success, Other activities included offering workshops and presenting speakers to promote these efforts, and developing resources for work-life balance in a diverse community.
The council also advised on implementation of the National Science Foundation Advancing Diversity through the Alignment of Policies and Practices grant, or ADAPP-ADVANCE, designed to bring about institutional transformation by promoting greater transparency in recruitment, retention and advancement of faculty.
Held from Spring 2014-Spring 2018, the Pathways to Science speaker series was designed to bring distinguished speakers from various STEM disciplines and various backgrounds to MSU to share their experiences. In addition to giving a scientific talk within the host department, each invited speaker gave a "Pathways to Science" seminar, describing their experiences through their careers during a meeting/luncheon with graduate students and postdocs.
Between 2016-2108, the CDC organized several diversity and inclusion workshops and trainings to address equity issues within the college:
- Spring 2016: three-part workshop series called Towards Racial Equity: Creating a More Inclusive Science Community
- STEM Teaching Essentials Workshop in February 2017: Learning Narratives from Students of Color in STEM Classrooms
- October 2017: Creating an Inclusive STEM Classroom: Strategies and Skills Development (follow-up training Feb. 2017 workshop)
- Spring 2018: Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Understanding Implicit Bias Certificate program
The CDC also created the STEAM4DIVERSITY listserv in October 2016 to disseminate diversity and inclusion information, events, and resources for the entire MSU community.
In the spring of 2018 in response to the Larry Nassar scandal, then Interim Dean Cheryl Sisk and the NatSci CDC created a Task Force on Inclusive Initiatives that was charged to: (1) Evaluate suggestions from the NatSci Council on Diversity and Community (CDC) and comments from NatSci college and department town halls to advance diversity and inclusion within NatSci; (2) Conduct a NatSci climate assessment survey to identify areas where we are doing well and areas in need of improvement (to be completed by the MSU Office of Survey Research in Spring 2019); and (3) Develop recommendations for NatSci to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within all NatSci settings (e.g., classrooms, research laboratories, workplaces).
NatSci Bylaws changes were approved in Spring 2019 to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DEIAC) as a standing committee of NatSci, effective in Fall 2019. The DEIAC replaced the NatSci CDC and is charged with recommending, reviewing and evaluating policies and programs that affect the diversity of NatSci faculty, staff and students, as well as the college's inclusivity efforts.
These responsibilities include advising and consulting with the NatSci dean and college units and offices in making recommendations for improving persistent, systemic and emergent conditions based on six focus areas identified by the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives:
- Access, Retention, Advancement (applicable to faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students)
- Curriculum (formal and informal)
- Campus Climate
- External Engagement
For details on the NatSci Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee composition, functions and procedures, see the NatSci Bylaws (section 3.4.9).