Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University is fully committed to building, supporting, and maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive department. All faculty, staff, and students are expected to actively pursue this goal. We recognize that diversity is intersectional, and includes aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, class, nationality, and body type. We ascribe to the Principles of Community at Iowa State, specifically highlighting richness of diversity, respect, and freedom from discrimination.

Why DEI in the Geological and Atmospheric Sciences?

The disciplines of geological and atmospheric sciences have had low success at attracting, supporting, and retaining scientists of color and women across all levels. Barriers to diversifying our scientific disciplines include discrimination and harassment in fieldwork, hostile departmental culture, and lack of promotion of minorities and women’s careers through speaker invitations, etc. Generally speaking, though, as part of a public institution, we believe the demographics of faculty and students should reflect those in broader society. We recognize that increasing diversity does not stop with recruiting minorities and women but must also include equitable practices in reviewing and promotion. We cannot become truly diverse and inclusive until we value the ideas and contributions of all people. These pursuits will enhance the quality and diversity of ideas, since there will be a broader representation of people included.

Our approach and resources

We have three key strategies:

  1. Standing committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We will always have an active committee composed of faculty and student members. This committee will promote the department’s diversity and inclusion goals, listen and respond to student concerns and ideas, and assist faculty and staff with building a vibrant department for all.
  2. Inclusive teaching and department learning: We will promote, read, and discuss research by historically under-represented groups. Our seminar series each semester aims to include at least 50% women and at least one speaker of color. We will focus on highlighting work of under-represented groups in our courses, and address how systemic racism, which is the legacy of colonialism and white supremacy, has played a role in the history of, as well as the current practice of, the disciplines of Geology and Atmospheric Science. We are committed to the professional development of all of our students, through active mentoring, opportunities to present work in seminars and at conferences, and the resources offered by the university, such as Preparing Future Faculty and writing workshops.
  3. Detailed Diversity Plan: We strive to build, foster, and support a more diverse and equitable department. In addition to strategies mentioned above, our approach includes focused outreach and recruiting strategies to increase and support department diversity and to better match national demographics of black, indigenous, and people of color. Such activities require thoughtful planning and input from department faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Our detailed diversity plan is currently under development.