Department Diversity Committee

The PBS Department Diversity Committee seeks to foster diversity, equity, & inclusion across different levels of the department, including undergraduate and graduate training, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, graduate student recruitment, and professional development. 

2022/2023 Initiatives

Our committee has been focused on the following initiatives, in collaboration with other committees and leadership in our department:

Developing a DEI Strategic Plan

•Develop and administer strategic plan survey to gather input from the department on recommended actions

Supporting DEI professional development

•Offering training in the department

•Connecting PBS members with outside resources

•Developed guide for addressing microaggressions in PBS

Integrating DEI into curriculum

•Working with undergraduate curriculum committee to revise undergraduate curriculum, increase diversity-focused courses & creating Diversity Science letter of specialization for undergraduates

Increasing support for graduate students

•Increased summer funding

•Funds available for student-led initiatives, such as affinity groups

•Increasing support for establishing mentoring networks

Creation of new departmental structures

•Associate Chair for DEI position (external search in progress)

•Graduate Student Advocate

•Graduate Recruitment Committee


2021/2022 Initiatives

Our committee developed an action plan based on the work of Action groups launched in 2020/21. We specifically focused on the following action items this year:

Promoting diverse scholars and increasing sense of inclusivity in the department.

We have Installed a TV monitor and created content for a diversity website and tv. In addition, we have begun to administer demographic surveys to all individuals who gave talks in the department this year. We will examine the data to assess the diversity of our speaker series to ensure that we have a diverse representation of speakers.

Enhancing graduate student diversity and retention.

We developed a document containing DEI resources to provide students at grad student orientation. We also formed an ad-hoc committee to review the dept bylaws in order to create a new committee which will, in the future, collectively work together to develop and implement strategies to enhance our recruitment of applicants from diverse backgrounds.

Executive actions.

We formalized a proposal to create a new position in PBS of an associate chair of DEI. This position was added to the PBS dept bylaws by vote of approval from faculty. This position will be filled internally for the 22-23 academic year and a search is planned for an external hire. 

We moved forward a proposal for creating a letter of specialization in diversity science for undergraduates. An ad-hoc committee has been formed to further develop this proposal.

Department Communication

We have identified a team to facilitate timely responses to local or national racial/diversity-related events. Volunteers from the diversity committee served as the response team this year.


2020/2021 Initiatives:

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in June, 2020, over 50 members of the PBS Community met and generated a large number of action items for better addressing racial inequities here in our department. Based on these action items, we formed 7 Action Groups to focus on different areas of change to improve support for and address inequities experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); 74 faculty, staff, and graduate students sign up to join one or more Action Groups. These action groups are working intensively to address the following:

Action Group 1: Highlight the work of BIPOC scholars  

This group focuses on highlighting the scholarship of BIPOC in the larger academic community by working with existing colloquium committees and existing University programs (e.g., BRiDGE) to host more invited talks by BIPOC scholars and to provide education to hosts on effective hosting of BIPOC scholars.  

Action Group 2: Support research focused on BIPOC communities.  

This group focuses on identifying changes that can be made to better support research on BIPOC communities. 

Action Group 3:  Recruitment of BIPOC graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, faculty and staff within PBS  

This group focuses on developing ways to provide support to the department and programs in recruiting BIPOC graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, faculty, and staff, with a particular focus on recruitment of Black people. 

Action Group 4: Support of BIPOC graduate students, post-docs, faculty, & staff 

This group focuses on working to develop/identify resources and structures to better support/empower current BIPOC graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, faculty, and staff within PBS, considering how such structures can take into account how needs vary across BIPOC. 

Action Group 5: Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the undergraduate level in PBS 

This group focuses on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at the undergraduate level.

Action Group 6: Promote BIPOC Allyship and Anti-racism 

This group focuses on organizing and promoting programming to help members of PBS engage in thoughtful and effective allyship. This programming should be at the department level and can also connect to existing programming at the college and university level. 

Action Group 7: Community Advocacy, Outreach, and Engagement   

This group will develop structures in PBS to support community advocacy, outreach, and engagement. 


2022/2023 Committee Members:

Lisa Harvey (co-chair)

Rebecca Stowe (co-chair)

Evelyn Mercado

Michael McDermott

Heather Richardson

Ashley Woodman