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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Academic Years: 
Earth Sciences
1. Faculty: 

Department of Earth Sciences (DoES) faculty have been engaged in a number of activities to improve inclusion in the department and equity in the faculty, staff, and students. As is now standard, all new search committee members take implicit bias training, but we have encouraged all existing DoES faculty to engage in this training. Six out of the seven most recent tenure-track hires in the department have been from groups under-represented in the Earth Sciences. Consequently, women now make up 36% of our tenure-track faculty (9 of 25), putting us at almost double the national average for geoscience departments of 20%. In addition, we have 37% women in our non-tenure-track faculty. DoES hosts an endowed visiting professorship, the Meierjurgen Fellow, and they have been consistently international scholars and/or women over the last decade, introducing the students in the department to a diversity of research and cultural backgrounds. Finally, our faculty have made a point of hosting many other international researchers, with three to five resident in the department during each academic year.

As for teaching, faculty are supported to engage in the Science Literacy program, learning evidence-based teaching practices to make their classrooms more inclusive and effective. To make the overall curriculum more inclusive, the department has begun a discussion for providing additional non-fieldwork paths through all the degree tracks, so that students with all levels of engagement in outdoor activities can find success in our discipline.

2. Staff: 

The staff of DoES engage in professional development activities related to equity and inclusion as often as possible. The staff interact daily with the diverse graduate and undergraduate student body of the department, facilitating their academic careers at UO. In their roles managing all aspects of academic and financial work for DoES, the staff is integral to creating an inclusive community in the department.

3. Graduate Programs: 

DoES has consistently supported a balance of male and female graduate students for at least the last 12 years. Our department supports a “Good Citizen Award” for graduate students, providing financial assistance to a student who has made an extra effort to produce an inclusive culture in the department. Finally, our graduate students are extremely active in groups that work towards a more inclusive campus, including Rehearsals for Life, the Community for Minorities in STEM, and Women in Graduate Science.

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

To improve undergraduate engagement with research in DoES, we have encouraged faculty to engage with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) program. DoES features extensive research opportunities in labs, allowing students to make a connection with a research mentor early so that they can improve their credentials for entering a career or graduate school upon graduation. Our faculty engage in a number of extramural funding programs to support undergraduate research, including REU programs from IRIS, UNAVCO, and SCEC. Our department is developing a plan for active recruitment of students from underrepresented groups, with a planned implementation in 2019.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

DoES collaborates extensively with the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH), which provides an avenue for outreach to K-12 students from underserved communities. The department encourages all faculty to produce public seminars, e.g. the OMSI Science Pub series or the MNCH’s Ideas on Tap.
The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, hosted by DoES, has an extensive outreach mission to diverse communities across Oregon, engaging partners on earthquake early warning, and teaching residents about earthquake and tsunami risk and preparedness.
DoES hosts an active Geology Club, open to all major and non-major UO students. The Geology Club puts on an annual Gem and Mineral Show as both an educational opportunity and a fundraiser to support students traveling on an annual geology Spring Break fieldtrip. In this way, all students can participate regardless of income. The Geology Club is also engaged in outreach to local middle schools, connecting those 6-8 grade students with UO undergraduates as role models for college success.
Many DoES faculty have broader impacts of their external grants linked to the UO’s STEM CORE. Through this connection, faculty can engage in developing lesson plans for middle and high school science curricula, bringing their original research directly to a broad community of students, with an emphasis on underserved schools.