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Enhancing Equity, Access and Inclusion

Enhancing Equity, Access and Inclusion

students sitting on Austin Hall lawn

2021 Strategic Diversity Action Plan

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.

In June 2021, the College launched a 2021 Strategic Diversity Action Plan (DAP) to improve outcomes for underrepresented students, faculty and staff. The plan – Embedding Equity, Access and Inclusion – builds on progress that we have made as a College in advancing inclusive excellence, and will be our guide to more progress in the coming four years.

The plan outlines a set of five key strategic goals based on the Adaptive Strategic Planning for Inclusive Excellence framework (created by OSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity) and in alignment with the university's 2019-2023 Strategic Plan SP4.0 and diversity strategic plan, Innovate and Integrate: Plan for Inclusive Excellence. Each goal contains specific actions and accountability structures to be implemented at different levels of the organization – individual, unit and college.

The Diversity Action Plan recognizes and centers the relationship between advancing our college’s strategic mission and valuing, nurturing and engaging all members of the College of Science community, particularly and especially community members holding minoritized social identities.

Diversity in numbers

32.4% Minority students

14.2% Underrepresented minority students

28% First in family to attend college

7.2% International students

71% Undergraduates identify as women

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.

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.

Scholarships to support equity and inclusion

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.

Cultural centers

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.
  • The Nia Black Scholar Living-Learning Community is located in Poling Hall and will allow students to build strong community, explore racial identity and understand what it means to be Black and African American in Oregon and OSU.
  • The munk-skukum Indigenous Living-Learning Community is also located in Poling Hall and will connect students with a shared interest in Indigenous people and provide access to cultural events.
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.