Department of Biology
For additional information, feel free to browse through the links or email Dr. Susan Bandoni Muench, Biology Chair. We would enjoy hearing from you.
- Biology Department Statement in Support of Racial Justice
We, members of the Department of Biology, stand in solidarity with Black students, faculty, and staff, and those fighting racial injustice. We would like to add our voices to speak out against systemic racism, social injustice, police brutality, and violence.
We recognize that the deaths of Secoriea Turner, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery and the countless victims who preceded them result from racism. We recognize that these tragedies, as well as the toll imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, acutely impact our students and colleagues who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
We are ready for the long road and hard work ahead to transform our community into one that confronts racism and embodies social justice. We are also motivated to speak because we recognize that racism on our own campus, both explicit and implicit, causes our BIPOC students and colleagues to suffer unjustly. We acknowledge that we have been complicit, having not adequately challenged the racism that infuses academia and STEM fields, and the structural biases that continue to disadvantage Black students and colleagues along with other people of color. We recognize how science has been and continues to be misused to support racist ideas, and that we need to transform the way we teach and study biology to address this misuse directly.
We are ready to listen, to learn, and to change.
We commit to this work, starting with the 2020-2021 academic year, broadening the opportunities for more voices to be heard and educating ourselves for this important work:
We pledge to educate ourselves about the experiences of BIPOC students on this campus, and to strive to be a welcoming, equitable, and racially inclusive community. We will establish safe and confidential venues for students to express their concerns about racial injustices and incidents of bias. We commit to diversifying our seminar series to reflect the diversity of scientists working in the biological sciences and the diversity of our students’ interests. We will devote at least one department meeting per semester to be trained by the Office of Diversity and Equity’s DICE (Diversity and Inclusion Community Educator) facilitators.
We invite our students and colleagues to share their thoughts and ideas with us, and we look forward to working with you to create an inclusive, equitable, diverse, and welcoming community in the Biology department.
Thank you to robbie routenberg, Chief Diversity Officer, for reviewing this statement.
- Pursuing training to confront racism and support a more inclusive pedagogy that acknowledges both injustices and intersectionality, through increasing the number of faculty and staff who complete ACCC, SafeZone, and other programs.
- Examining our curricula (structures, practices, content) for explicit and implicit racism, revising to promote diversity and social justice in our curricula, and developing new content that addresses and counters scientific racism.
- Inspecting our departmental decision-making structures and practices to address inequities, starting with a committee dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee will include at least one student representative and establish a regular schedule to assess equity. For example, the committee will review whether practices for student participation in departmental opportunities are inclusive and equitable.
We will also begin developing a strategic plan in consultation with our BIPOC students and colleagues for the systemic transformation needed in our department and our programs. Broad action items include:
Developing a diversity statement that expresses our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as a code of conduct for the department.