Writing a Diversity Statement

Writing a Diversity Statement

Practical advice on writing a diversity statement, with a focus on faculty in the biomedical sciences.

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Nathan Fried, PhD

November 11, 2020
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  1. @NeuronNate Nathan.Fried@rutgers.edu Department of Biology Assistant Teaching Professor Rutgers University,

    Camden Nathan T. Fried, PhD Writing a Diversity Statement Workshop.
  2. CoAS NTT Working Group

  3. Today’s Outline Why is a Diversity Statement Important? What is

    a Diversity Statement? Practical Impact of Writing a Diversity Statement. Workshop – laying the groundwork for writing it.
  4. How do we ensure our teaching, research, service, and mentorship

    works in this ever-diversifying student/trainee population?
  5. What is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? • “Diversity: Includes

    but is not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles.” – NIH focuses on “underrepresented groups” • Black, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander • Student with disabilities (physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities) • Individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (as per the new 2019 NIH guidelines) – Other forms: Rutgers Camden is a military campus. Political leanings. Religious background. Immigration status/undocumented. • “Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically under-served and under-represented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.” • “Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.” https://community.naceweb.org/blogs/karen-armstrong1/2019/06/25/what-exactly-is-diversity-equity-and-inclusion https://citl.indiana.edu/programs/ai-support/resources/diversity-statements.html
  6. What is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? • “Diversity: Includes

    but is not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles.” – NIH focuses on “underrepresented groups” • Black, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander • Student with disabilities (physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities) • Individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (as per the new 2019 NIH guidelines) – Other forms: Rutgers Camden is a military campus. Political leanings. Religious background. Immigration status/undocumented. • “Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically under-served and under-represented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.” • “Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.” https://community.naceweb.org/blogs/karen-armstrong1/2019/06/25/what-exactly-is-diversity-equity-and-inclusion https://citl.indiana.edu/programs/ai-support/resources/diversity-statements.html
  7. Diversity Statements What they are • Used for applications and

    promotions in your teaching portfolio. • Used in grant opportunities from NIH/NSF and other funding entities. • Encourage thoughtful moment to address how you’ll continue to excel in your role on a campus w/ a growingly diverse student population. • A pause point to identify your own implicit biases. • A pause point to identify structural barriers within your system for the range of student backgrounds. What they are not • Progressive/liberal litmus test. • Busy-work that does nothing. • A moment to declare how you’ve got all the right answers and will “fix diversity”.
  8. What’s in a diversity statement? • 1 page usually, sometimes

    2 pages that is generally part of your teaching portfolio (or alongside other docs). • A “living document”. • Persuasive essay format. – Can speak about your own personal story or challenges OR focus on a thesis of why considering diversity in your discipline is important. – Should show discrete examples of what you do or plan to do (teaching/mentoring practices) to ensure best practices in a diverse college campus (big and small are both helpful!). • Example of mine (probably a bit too long, but I’m very passionate about this): www.neuronate.com/wp- content/uploads/2020/11/FRIED_Diversity_Statement_gener al.pdf
  9. Pitfalls when writing diversity statements • Not understanding the campus

    culture or goals with diversity, equity, and inclusion. • Considering “diversity” without providing specific practical examples of barriers or fundamental understanding of barriers for some student groups. • Focusing on “savior complex” view of diversity, equity, and inclusion. • Perpetuating idea that we’re all equal while ignoring systemic structural disparities. • Not having a diverse audience look at your statement while finalizing it. https://citl.indiana.edu/programs/ai-support/resources/diversity-statements.html
  10. A practical example From a faculty member involved in both

    teaching and research.
  11. 54% 350 72% 91% Of 5,000 undergrads in total

  12. The science identity and entering a science occupation, Stets, Social

    Science Research, 2017 Experiential Learning Increased Science Identity Increased Retention & Success The basic equation Find Faculty, Woo them, Volunteer in lab
  13. 54% 72% 91%

  14. 54% • Imposter syndrome on campus. • Knowledge & awareness

    gaps. • Fear & anxiety communicating w/ faculty. • Minimal science background might not make them a stand- out student.
  15. 72% • Don’t have time to volunteer. • Precarious financial

    situation. • Irregular work scheduling. • Hunger, health disparity, homelessness.
  16. 91% • That 30 min of Saturday lab work might

    mean a 2-4 hr commute. • Parking & transit costs money. • Lack of belonging on campus. • Keeping your entire day on your back (food on the go, sleeping in car, showering, etc).
  17. Questions? • Great resources: – https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2016/06/10/how-write- effective-diversity-statement-essay – https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer- resources/job-search-application-writing/diversity-statements/

    – https://citl.indiana.edu/programs/ai-support/resources/diversity- statements.html • These slides are available at: www.neurofriedlab.com
  18. Workshop considering the building blocks of your statement What is

    your identity & what practical barriers/challenges have you experienced?? How would you define your student population and what unique barriers/challenges have they experienced? How have you modified your teaching, mentoring, and research practices to help students from a range of backgrounds? (one small example, one large example) What do you plan to do in your teaching and research to reach a range of students?