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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion 6563

Academic Years: 
Social Sciences
1. Faculty: 

Faculty members in the Department of Geography regularly teach subjects related to DEI in both formal and informal ways. Our courses span the globe, and include a focus on issues of identity, mobility (economic, social, and physical), and political and environmental (in)justices. Our curriculum challenges students to consider their place and role in a diverse world, as does our research and publishing. Faculty members currently conduct research in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and marginalized areas within the United States, touching upon topics of (among many others) resource allocation, linguistic and religious conflict, strategies of and resistance to harmful neoliberal economics, environmental racism/justice, and adaptation to the impacts of climate change associated with structural biases and segregation. Our weekly department-wide tea seminar frequently hosts guests from around the world who speak to DEI issues. Two examples from the Fall 2017 term include a presentation on population growth and resource challenges for impoverished residents of the Mekong Delta and the rise of populism in South Africa. Faculty (and graduate students) are also active in professional associations, contributing to the creation of a new Latinx specialty group and supporting outreach to HBCs in the American Association of Geographers.

3. Graduate Programs: 

The Department has made significant strides in increasing diversity in our graduate student community and has considerably exceeded the level of diversity within our professional community. At this time approximately one-third of our graduate students self-identify in ways that reflect that effort, and they come from different countries, religions, sexual orientations, and under-represented groups within the United States. Our graduate workshop includes presentations by university staff and administrators on issues of inclusion and pedagogic methods that are designed for diverse groups of students and topics of a sensitive or controversial nature.

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

In addition to our regular course offerings, undergraduate students are engaged in DEI related activities through our Geography Club and other initiatives supported by our faculty. For instance, geography students contributed to efforts to fight malaria in Kenya and provide disaster relief in Puerto Rico through the YouthMappers program. As part of one of our classes students mapped Fair Housing practices in Albany, Oregon, and elsewhere. Students have been involved in faculty research on resource conflicts in Latin America and sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. Student internships have included work in local social welfare agencies in governmental and NGO sectors, work with at-risk youth, and work with current and formerly incarcerated people. Students (graduate and undergraduate) working on projects in the S3C lab have done extensive work on issues related to disability/mobility issues, and students in the InfoGraphics lab have been involved in a number of DEI related projects, including that of tracking and visualization of diversity at the University of Oregon.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

Geography faculty have been regular participants in the SAIL and Connections programs that work to empower and recruit under-represented students, and this year for the first time designed and offered one of the week-long SAIL classes. We have worked with schools and prisons in Oregon to provide educational opportunities for those traditionally lacking them, and have partnered with agencies, schools, and NGOs to support alter-abled individuals facing an array of challenges. We have sponsored programs to bring at-risk youth to campus. Faculty members have gone to community schools and organizations to teach and engage around DEI issues. One of our faculty members currently serves as head of the Ethnic Studies program and another as the head of the UO Prison Education Program. Faculty have also participated in community efforts such as the census-related canvas of residents of the area who have no fixed address. In these efforts faculty have encouraged and supported student participation at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Several of our faculty and staff participated in DACA training to learn methods for supporting those students and other targeted groups on campus.

6. Other: 

Department faculty serve as advisors for the No Lost Generation student club (an initiative of the US Department of State to foster student efforts to help with refugee resettlement in the United States), the Global Women’s Narrative Project, and with the Black Male Alliance.