In Fall 2016, Michigan Physics organized the first departmental committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), including faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, a postdoctoral scholar, and a staff member. Now beginning its second year, the DEI Committee’s current projects include: conducting surveys of student experiences, expanding efforts to recruit women and students of color to our doctoral program, improving strategies for ensuring holistic admissions practices, and establishing a series of talks and workshops to help our community better understand diversity and the importance of an inclusive and cooperative climate.
Brian Beckford (committee chair)
Committee Vision Statement
The field of Physics lacks diversity with respect to gender and underrepresented minorities (URM). The situation has not improved significantly with time; in fact, the number of degrees earned by African Americans has decreased in the last decade. Leaders at physics organizations and universities have recognized the demand for improved diversity. This has prompted official statements from the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The University of Michigan Physics Department has also acknowledged this and formed a committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in order to address these and related issues. The university president’s diversity charge states it is central to the mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive.
The committee aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the University of Michigan’s Physics Department such that the representation of traditionally underrepresented and marginalized groups, within the department, is more reflective of our society, and work towards a sustainable, diverse and thriving physics community. The committee is dedicated to contributing to the department in such a way that the University of Michigan becomes a leading example in diversity initiatives. Lastly, in order to demonstrate that the Physics Department is aligned with the goals outlined in University of Michigan LSA college-wide strategic plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion it is imperative that the committee, along with the department and University leadership to work together towards achieving the following broad goals:
1. Implementing policies and best practices that improve diversity and equity among faculty, staff, graduate student, and undergraduate student populations.
2. Improved and sustained retention of diverse students, staff, and faculty.
3. Creating an inclusive and supportive climate for all members of the department, not limited to URM, people of LGBTQ+, individuals with disabilities, and non-traditional backgrounds, that provides equitable opportunities for learning, development, and success.
4. Formative assessment of implemented strategies aimed to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Physics Department.
5. Continuous collection, evaluation, interpretation, and dissemination of best practices that enhance diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.