Biological Sciences Department Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department recognizes the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in promoting student success. Nationwide, persons excluded because of their ethnicity or race are far less likely to complete bachelor’s and PhD degrees in STEM than their peers. People who identify as LGBTQ+ STEM professionals are more likely to face a range of disadvantages in their careers and less likely to remain in STEM than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.
These and other disparities between historically marginalized groups and their peers are due to cultural and economic roadblocks, particularly in higher education. We have witnessed, with dismay, incidents of racism and bias on our own campus and beyond, not only for their fundamental injustice but because these incidents negatively impact students’ feelings of belonging and persistence in the field.
To say nothing is to be complicit in the system that leads to such disparate outcomes. We support our faculty, staff, and students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups and want the Biological Sciences Department to be a safe space, where hatred has no place, and where we embrace the Cal Poly values of love, empathy, and respect, because we are committed to providing every student with a passion for biology the opportunity to achieve their goals.
It is especially important for members of our department to be actively anti-racist and actively inclusive, because there is a myriad of intersections between social justice issues and the biological sciences. The connections between biology and social justice afford opportunities for us to take action.
Here are some of the areas in which we plan to make headway
- Develop a no-tolerance policy for biases against marginalized groups in our learning spaces
- Recognize diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) efforts of our staff and faculty in performance reviews
- Invite more diverse seminar speakers
- Work within curricular groups to diversify and decolonize our syllabi
- Create an online space for DEI resources in our department
- Support faculty and staff to attend conferences or similar professional development activities (e.g., webinars) related to DEI issues, as the budget allows
- Create learning communities for faculty, students, and staff
- Change the way we recruit and train graduate students
Here you can download a copy of our COSAM and Campus Resource Guide with live links to the most current resources available on campus. (Last updated 04/29/2021)
Ahnesjö, I, Brealey, JC, Günter, KP, Martinossi-Allibert, I, Morinay, J, Siljestam, M, Stångberg, J, & Vasconcelos, P (2020). Considering gender-biased assumptions in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary Biology, 47m, 1-5.
Asai, DJ (2020) Race matters. Cell, 181, 754-757.
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Castañedaa, VR, Westeen, EP, Frederick, J, Amini, S, Wait, D, Achmadi, AS, Andayani, N, Arida, E, Arifin, U, Bernal, MA and Bonaccorso, E (2022). A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology. ecoevorxiv
Cech, E. A., & Waidzunas, T. J. (2021). Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM. Science Advances, 7, eabe0933.
Chaudhary, VB & Berhe, AA (2020) Ten simple rules for building an antiracist lab. PLoS Computational Biology 16, e1008210.
Cronin, MR, Alonzo, SH, Adamczak, SK, Baker, DN, Beltran, RS, Borker, AL, Favilla, AB, Gatins, R, Goetz, LC, Hack, N, & Harenčár, JG (2021). Anti-racist interventions to transform ecology, evolution and conservation biology departments. Nature ecology & evolution, 5, 1213-1223.
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Gosztyla, ML, Kwong, L, Murray, NA, Williams, CE, Behnke, N, Curry, P, Corbett, KD, DSouza, KN, Gala de Pablo, J, Gicobi, J, & Javidnia, M (2021). Responses to 10 common criticisms of anti-racism action in STEMM. PLoS Computational Biology, 17, e1009141
Haines, CD, Rose, EM, Odom, KJ, & Omland, KE (2020) The role of diversity in science: a case study of women advancing female birdsong research. Animal Behaviour, 168, 19-24.
Hinton Jr, AO, Termini TM, Spencer EC, Rutaganira FUN, Chery D, Roby R, Vue Z, Pack A, Brady LJ, Garza-Lopez E, Marshall AG, Lewis SC, Shuler HD, Taylor BL, McReynolds MR, & Palavicino-Maggio CB (2020) Patching the leaks: revitalizing and reimagining the STEM pipeline. Cell 183, 568-575.
Hoffman, KM, Trawalter, S, Axt, JR, & Oliver, MN (2016) Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 4296-4301
Kao, RM (2020) Beyond the lab bench: Pathways in inclusion, equity, and diversity in biology education and social justice. Developmental Biology, 459, 49-51.
O’Brien, LT, Bart, HL & Garcia, DM (2020). Why are there so few ethnic minorities in ecology and evolutionary biology? Challenges to inclusion and the role of sense of belonging. Social Psychology of Education, 23, 449-477.
Schell, CJ, Guy, C, Shelton, DS, Campbell-Staton, SC, Sealey, BA, Lee, DN, & Harris, NC (2020) Recreating Wakanda by promoting Black excellence in ecology and evolution. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2020, 1-3.
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Wallace, KJ & York, JM (2020). A systems change framework for evaluating academic equity and inclusion in an Ecology and Evolution graduate program. Ecology and Evolution, 10, 10922-10929.
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Left Out Executive Summary
National Science Foundation data on bachelor’s degrees in STEM.
On speaking about racism with educators, including use of terminology.
On the intersection among LGBTQ+, poverty and the covid-19 pandemic.
NPR article on dismantling racism in the science classroom.
Scientific American blogpost on science’s legacy of racism and steps to ameliorate it.
Mercury News article on Dr. Tyrone Hayes and being Black in academia.
The Conversation article on women researchers and female bird song studies.
Scientific American blogpost on Garret Hardin, racism and the Tragedy of the Commons.
On RA Fisher.