The Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution (E&E) recognizes the systemic racism that permeates our society, academia, and the field of ecology and evolution. Creating and maintaining an environment of inclusion and diversity is fundamental to discovery in science and to the design of solutions to complex societal problems. Many of the most complex issues require exceptional creativity in order to identify breakthrough ideas or durable solutions, and creativity is enhanced in environments that meld diverse perspectives and beliefs. We stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and the LBGTQ+, and disabled communities and are committed to actively promoting greater inclusion, equity, and diversity in our program, our school, our field, and the nation.
In September 2020, we formed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee within the graduate program with faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff. Meeting regularly, this committee has revised our admissions process to be more inclusive, made GREs optional for admissions, begun assessments of our program's diversity and climate, and initiated efforts to more effectively recruit members of underrepresented groups. In addition, the Journal Club in Evolution has engaged many of our community in discussions on diversity and equity within the sciences of evolution and ecology, supported by a diversity grant from HHMI to Alvin Crespo and Siobain Duffy.
The DEI Committee has set the following goals for our program and are currently (winter 2020-2021) setting more detailed objectives:
- Increase the diversity of the E&E graduate student community to reflect the diversity of the country.
- Increase the diversity of the E&E faculty and staff.
- Break down barriers to equity in ecology and evolution, specifically with respect to the participation of underrepresented groups.
- Continually strive toward an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive working environment for all members of the E&E community.
- Participate in, support, and leverage DEI-related initiatives at Rutgers.
- Work to address pipeline issues that disproportionately prevent underrepresented groups from pursuing careers in E&E.