As a science leader, I am always considering the state of science globally, nationally and in Oregon. I believe that science is the single greatest force for good in human history. Our continual quest for new knowledge and better solutions has enabled society to tackle disease – including global pandemics, produce materials and harness energy to enhance lives, and catalyze intelligence and data to help protect our planet.
The impact of science is less than it could be, however, when some don’t have the opportunity or resources to fully participate in life-changing learning experiences, research or receive the good results of that research. Moreover, science’s impact diminishes when its contributions do not equitably benefit all.
Fortunately, science is self-correcting. When we find errors, we seek out new information, analyze the data, amend our positions and get closer to truth by constant improvement. When we become aware of injustices, we seek to correct them. We know with certainty that science has not been inclusive enough – globally, regionally and at Oregon State – and we want to do better.
In 2020, we initiated a process to improve outcomes for underrepresented minority students, faculty and staff by putting in place a structure for equity, access and inclusion. Collectively, we set out to create an action plan that would include a vision and strategy for inclusive success and equitable opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. The action plan we developed is informed by peer-reviewed research and was and is open for debate from all points of view.
“Embedding Equity, Access and Inclusion,” the 2021-2024 Strategic Diversity Action Plan for the College of Science, officially rolled out to Science faculty, staff and students in fall 2021. The plan is adaptive and will evolve based on evidence, results, feedback and assessment. Importantly, we will consider input from dissimilar perspectives, upholding the tenets of academic freedom - which includes that people have different views and those views are welcome.
I hope you will familiarize yourself with the plan’s key goals (p. 11) and review online the plan’s vision, actions and accountability structures aimed to address inequities, reduce attrition, increase a sense of belonging and other outcomes at science.oregonstate.edu/dap.
I am encouraged by the widespread support for our plan’s sharp focus on action and outcomes. Achieving measurable change will enable more people to enjoy the benefits that come from science, careers in science, and a better understanding of science. This is integral to our mission: “To advance science and build global leaders for a healthy people, living on a healthy planet, in a healthy economy.”
Dean, College of Science