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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion 6489

Academic Years: 
Social Sciences
1. Faculty: 

Our faculty include scholars of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class. Nearly all of our faculty publications are centrally tied to the study of inequality and entail recommendations for a more equitable society.

Our faculty do significant service for other UO units including WGS and Ethnic Studies, and for disciplinary associations (e.g., section officers for the Sex & Gender Section, Latina/o Sociology Section, and the Asia and Asian American Section of the American Sociological Association).

Concerning hiring, chairs of hiring committees attend workshops on increasing faculty diversity and implicit bias training. We have made sustained efforts to recruit a diverse faculty and have been fairly successful. We actively mentor junior faculty in effort to support their careers here and ensure their retention.

Our faculty also participate in university and college-wide efforts regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion such as serving on university committees that clarified and strengthened family leave policies at the UO (that became the groundwork for their incorporation into our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2013). Faculty also have worked with students in the ASUO, the fossil fuel divestment campaign, the student labor action project, and the black student taskforce. Our faculty also helped to coordinate (and participated in) the Faculty Writing retreat sponsored by CoDaC, which specifically drew from diverse faculty or those who work on issues of diversity.

2. Staff: 

The department leadership strives to make department family-friendly for all staff. This has included supporting staff members in their professional goals and making accommodations for a staff person after the birth of a baby.

3. Graduate Programs: 

We increased our efforts to recruit diverse graduate students by selective invitation and outreach to students from the the two lists of prospective non-traditional students that the graduate school provides to us (McNair Scholars and National Name Exchange). We have a very diverse cohort this year (AY18-19), which may be partly from those outreach efforts.

We hold a grad student recruiting weekend to help prospective grad students decide on UO. The weekend was initially supported by UMRP funds.

Nearly all of our classes address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the mentorship between faculty and graduate students supports these research agendas. Further, nearly all graduate student research addresses issues of inequality, diversity, and equity.
The department also supports the Lawrence Carter Graduate Research Award, which encourages research "from a diversity of perspectives," and the Joan Acker Fellowship, which goes to a promising student in the sociology of gender. A recently-formed Committee on International Graduate Students was developed to bring to light and aim to remedy difficulties such as not having the ability to legally work during the

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

Most instructors strive to recognize inequalities concerning gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation in their classes. One of our faculty has taught for the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program in the Honors College, and we now host a class in Sociology. Some of our faculty have experimented with flexible assignments to maximize the success of non-traditional students. We also recently introduced a few online classes which will boost accessibility for non-traditional students. Our teaching strategies and curricula are increasingly emphasizing diversity with respect to including a variety of scholars (such as racial minorities and women) as well as bringing attention in class to issues relative to socioeconomic status that affect working-class and poor students and first-generation college students.

Under the stewardship of our Undergraduate Program Director, our department altered application for the Sociology Honors program in order to be more inclusive of students with varied educational experiences. The application used to have a strict GPA cut off. But as we know, evaluations based on one measure tend to favor privileged groups. We now encourage students whose GPA does not meet the traditional requirement to solicit brief recommendations from faculty or graduate students who know them and their work. This seems to have increased the diversity of our honors program participants in terms of both economic background and race/ethnicity, though not gender. The Undergraduate Program Director makes a concerted effort to do outreach for the Honors Program through the peer advising program and the applied sociology course in a wide variety of classes so that students who perhaps have different forms of cultural capital can can avail themselves of the variety of enhanced educational offerings we provide in the department.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

We host and support speakers around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. One way this regularly occurs is through our (near) weekly colloquia series that runs throughout the year. A few more examples: we have supported a conference on gender studies in China, which brought two Chinese scholars to the UO. We collaborated with Latin American Studies to bring Oscar Arias to UO for the Bartolome de las Casas lectures. One faculty member co-hosted a conference on Nonviolence. The department also helped host Patricia Hill Collins, a prominent sociologists of race, gender, and class, and Michael Omi, a preeminent scholar of race, to UO. Our reach also extends beyond the ivory tower, from one faculty member’s long-running partnership with a Native American tribe to investigate issues of environmental justice, another who gives regular public lectures about bullying and homophobia, and another who is currently exploring a public sociology project with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) on air pollution in nonwhite, low-income, immigrant neighborhoods of Portland, OR.
Our sociology faculty regularly join forces with other efforts around campus to support equity, diversity, and inclusion goals. Examples include: participation on panels hosted by the Veritas Forum (a campus organization focused on pressing social questions), outreach events, cultural programming, and services provided by the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (such as Black Night of Achievement which recognizes the leadership of Black students on campus and the Division of Equity and Inclusion’s Weaving New Beginnings and Communities of Color Network which seeks to bridge ties between campus and city-members while generating ideas for community building). Additional alliances between sociology faculty and other UO programs include involvement in the Women of Color Project, which seeks to institutionalize racial diversity, build mentoring networks, and advance women of color to administrative leadership positions and CoDaC (from Writing Circles to Junior Faculty Mentorship programs).

6. Other: 

Sociology faculty are active at the national level, as illustrated by organizing mentoring programs that address underrepresented minorities through the auspices of the Pacific Sociological Association’s Mentor/Mentee Program and the American Sociological Association. At the department level, we recently advocated for and installed gender inclusive bathrooms in PLC.

1. University Service: 

Participation in specific efforts demonstrate the Sociology staff’s devotion to campus-wide efforts at inclusion: Queer Ally Coalition (QAC) training and member certification plus Continuing Education events offered by the QAC. Participation in large events such as Unpack the Quack (greeting and assisting students who were arriving on campus) as well as small but important efforts such as listing preferred pronouns on office doors and in my email signatures signals the Sociology staff’s inclusive efforts. Another university-wide effort was a staff member’s work to promote scholarships and opportunities for under-represented students; this entailed designing materials for the sociology department college block that aimed to represent the positive values of diversity and inclusion in the department. Members of the Sociology staff also serve on university-wide committees wherein a concern for equity and diversity issues arise and their input can further these goals. Staff have served as members of the following committees in recent years: Faculty Advisory Council (FAC), Senate Executive Committee (current and past 3 years), HR OA Policy Committee, and CAS Task Force for Shared Services.

2. Departmental Contributions: 

The staff member in charge of advising reports not assuming that all students will take 16 daytime, in-person credits every term, understanding that many students have family obligations, full time jobs, or other situations which require a more flexible model. Reflecting this recognition of students’ diverse needs, this staff person has arranged advising worksheets to accommodate a range of academic plans. The department staff are always welcoming to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students irrespective of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin or ability. This attitude and comportment fosters an inclusive environment.

3. Community Service and Outreach: 

One staff member serves on the board of directions for the Oregon Association of Rowers, an organization which serves its members (mostly women and seniors) and make annual contributions of money or service to the City of Lowell and the local volunteer fire fighters. Another staff member volunteers in a special education kindergarten class.

4. Professional Development and Training: 
Efforts in professional development and training are numerous, including voluntary unconscious bias training, LGBTQA Ally training, and DACA support training. Some of the department staff have attended the Women’s Leadership in Higher Ed Conference; ACAA (All Campus Advising association) meetings regarding advising of student athletes, international students, Pathway Oregon students and DACA/Dreamer students; workshops aimed at understanding the needs of students who are military veterans; and a Financial Aid Expo with workshops on a variety of topics relevant to students receiving financial aid. This impressive sampling of staff efforts to meet the needs of students from various backgrounds illustrates the staff’s commitment to serve the student body as effectively and caringly as possible.
5. Other: 

One of the staff members has been involved in planning meetings for the new Tykeson Hall building for advising resources and voiced the need for accessible furniture and counter heights for wheelchair users. Going above and beyond work-week duties, a staff person in charge of advising voluntarily arranged to be available to students by email on evenings and weekends, opening up additional advising availability to students who may work or have parental obligations during the standard working day.