The College of Science’s new Diversity Action Plan arises from the influence and impact of the Black Lives Matter movement and a call to action issued by Black and Indigenous students, students of color, and other students holding underrepresented identities in the College of Science.
“The Diversity Action Plan in the College of Science is informed by a collective vision of inclusive success and equitable opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. Eliminating racial, gender and economic inequities in science education and research has never been more urgent than now and is inseparable from the training of future generations of scientists and the progress of science in the modern world,” said Roy Haggerty, dean of the College of Science.
“The Action Plan helps us build on our successes, creates more opportunities for equity in science and tackles ongoing challenges. I am grateful for the efforts of our scientists, students and staff and their heartfelt commitment to diversity and inclusion that have made this Action Plan possible.”
“Embedding Equity, Access and Inclusion,” the 2021-2024 Strategic Diversity Action Plan for the College of Science aims to improve outcomes for underrepresented students, faculty and staff. It provides a clear vision, mission and strategy to strengthen and advance inclusive excellence and equity-focused changes in the College.
"The Diversity Action Plan in the College of Science is informed by a collective vision of inclusive success and equitable opportunities for our students, faculty and staff."
The plan, which is adaptive and will evolve based on evidence, results, feedback and assessment, will be the College’s guide to more structural and systemic progress in the coming years. Encompassing equitable hiring, inclusive climate and innovative access to learning and research experiences, the plan outlines key strategic goals aligned with specific actions and accountability structures to achieve greater diversity, inclusion and equity in “every operational aspect of the College.”
Shaped by listening sessions, surveys and dialogues with faculty, staff and students, the plan capitalizes on the core strengths of the College: An equity-minded community of students and scholars, a passion for scientific progress and a collective determination to defeat the barriers of inequality in science.
Inception and steps toward achieving greater diversity
Change begins with listening, self-education and dialogue. The Action Plan was inspired by a virtual town hall listening session in October 2020 that centered the experiences of Black science students in the College.
Moderated by Black faculty, administrators and students across Oregon State, the session was attended by more than 300 people. Panelists and participants advocated for the adoption and enforcement of cultural and structural changes in the College that create equity, not just equality. Panelists and Black students who responded to a survey overwhelmingly urged the College to “hire more professors and staff that look like us.”
"What’s important about this plan is it really involves organizational change."
The Black Lives Matter movement moved the nation to introspection, action and reform as we confronted the ugly effects of racism in the core institutions of our society, not least our academic institutions. STEM academic programs in particular have long been faced with a lack of diversity and inclusion in their midst.
The National Science Foundation’s 2021 report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering finds that Blacks or African Americans and American Indians or Native Americans remain underrepresented in science and engineering educational attainment and in the STEM workforce.