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Enhancing diversity, racial justice and inclusion in science

Enhancing diversity, racial justice and inclusion in science

students sitting on Austin Hall lawn

From differences comes strength. You belong here.

The College of Science is deeply committed to upholding the values of anti-racism, diversity, racial justice and equity – cornerstones of institutional and scientific excellence. Through our rich collection of people, ideas and perspectives, we engage in a healthy, constructive dialogue to learn, inform our research and make discoveries.

We are deeply committed to motivating and inspiring underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, women and other diverse populations to pursue careers in science. This is why we aim to shape an environment that is equitable and supportive for all students, free of conscious and unconscious bias, with access to facilities, learning and opportunity. We stand in solidarity with our Black, Indigenous and people of color (BPOC) students, faculty, staff and alumni who experience the painful effects of ongoing racism.

Read Dean of Science Roy Haggerty’s statement on the College of Science’s commitment to Black students

Diversity in numbers

32.4% Underrepresented minority students

28% First in family to attend college

7.2% International students

71% Undergraduates identify as women

Building an inclusive community

The College plays a leading role in several key programs to improve University-wide inclusivity and retention of underrepresented students, recently adopting multiple initiatives to advance diversity, equity, inclusivity and justice in our community. Due to these efforts and other academic and administrative units, OSU has been able to increase the recruitment and retention of students from historically underrepresented communities as well as first-generation students. For the third consecutive year, the university has received a national award that honors colleges and universities for having a campus culture committed to diversity and inclusion.

Collaborating with OSU’s STEM Research Center to run the Inclusive Excellence at Oregon State University (IE@OSU) project to improve student engagement in science and help schools become more inclusive of those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

Oregon State was one of two universities or colleges in Oregon and one of only four Pacific Northwest institutions and 91 nationally to receive the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Read more.

Programs for students

  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) – Funded by the National Science Foundation, LSAMP is dedicated to increasing the number of traditionally underrepresented students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs.
  • The Beaver Connect program, which eases the student transition to college. Students are placed in teams of up to four new-to-OSU students, one peer mentor and one faculty member for mentorship, guidance and community building in their first year at OSU. Teams meet up to five times per term during the first year in fall, winter and spring terms.
  • The Black Student Access & Success Initiative, which supports Black and African American student recruitment, access and success by providing culturally competent, university-wide services and programming, including academic support, resources, career development, recruitment and outreach. The program has had a strong impact on Black and African American students with application rates increasing 21% between fall 2018 and fall 2019; the number of students accepted increasing by 29%, and the number of students attending OSU increasing by 16%. Retention and graduation rates have also improved.
  • OSU STEM Leaders – This initiative is designed to increase the diversity and success of undergraduates in STEM fields at OSU. This is accomplished through an orientation course, cohort-based workshops, peer mentoring with upper division STEM students, and faculty-mentored undergraduate research experiences for freshmen and transfer students.

Scholarships to support diversity and scientific excellence

The College of Science sponsors a number of donor and alumni-supported scholarships to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students in STEM majors. The merit and need-based scholarships have advanced diversity, equity and inclusivity in the College.

  • The College’s flagship summer research scholarship called the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE Science) awards scholarships of $5,060 each for intensive summer research in STEM fields to a large proportion of students of color. SURE science awards are made possible by generous donations of College of Science alumni, faculty and supporters.
  • The Equity Promise Scholarship is awarded to students of color and to students experiencing hardships.

Programs for faculty

  • Inclusive Excellence at Oregon State University (IE@OSU) supports groups of 20 faculty annually from OSU and nearby community colleges, including Lane and Linn-Benton, have formed a professional learning community to develop and apply new culturally responsive strategies in the courses they teach. The selected faculty participated in an initial 40-hour summer academy on inclusive STEM pedagogies and individual course redesign
  • ADVANCE– Funded by NSF, ADVANCE is aimed at increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby developing a more diverse science and engineering workforce.
  • Difference, Power, Discrimination Program – This program works with faculty across all fields and disciplines at Oregon State University to develop inclusive curricula that address institutionalized systems of power, privilege, and inequity in the United States.
  • Enhancing STEM Education at OSU – This NSF-funded project is focusing on increasing the use of evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) to enhance the effectiveness of STEM classes.

Your home away from home

Seven cultural centers welcome all students looking for an ethnic, cultural, or identity-based home on campus:

  • Asian & Pacific Cultural Center is a space to engage on-campus and online students and members of the community around the Asian and Pacific Islander experience.
  • The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center complements the academic program of studies and enrich the quality of campus life for African and African-American students on-campus and online at Oregon State University
  • Centro Cultural César Chávez supports the educational goals students Chicanx/Latinx/Mestizx and the retention of their culture.
  • The Ettihad Cultural Center is home to a large population coming from central, southern and western Asia as well as northern Africa.
  • Native American Longhouse Eena Haws represents the Indigenous people of the Americas and Pacific Islands.
  • The Pride Center provides programs and support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual members of the on-campus and online OSU community and their allies.
  • The Hattie Redmond Women & Gender Center provides advocacy, resources to address women's issues on campus, in the community-at-large, and globally.
  • Two new Living-Learning Communities, one focused on Black people and people of the African diaspora and the other centering on Indigenous people. Living-learning communities are located within residential halls and provide opportunity for students to find community and explore cultural identity.
Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center
Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center

Bias reporting

The College has implemented a process to better address incidences of inclusivity or bias and experienced discrimination, recently launching a report form and process. The goal of the feedback form is to provide all students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests with a mechanism to provide both positive and negative feedback to the College of Science related their experiences in the College. It also provides the College information to create meaningful change.

Our goal is to provide an environment that is equitable and supportive for all students, free of conscious and unconscious bias, with access to facilities, learning and opportunity. We are deeply committed to motivating and inspiring women, first-generation college students, underrepresented minority students and other diverse populations to pursue careers in science.

Recent work on Diversity, Equity, Justice and Inclusivity

Our intention is to take the necessary steps to create an inclusive community and to "enhance diversity to build the best teams to do the best science. We are deeply committed to our core values that will help support and strengthen these aims. While we acknowledge that there is a lot more important work to do, the College of Science has taken steps to advance diversity, equity, inclusivity and justice in our community – with plans to create an anti-racist plan and do much more.