Top 10 List for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Are you looking for ways to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in your academic field? Here is a very incomplete list of some concrete steps you can take.

  1. Accept that there is no silver bullet for fixing equity, diversity, and inclusion issues, and decide that it is better to do something than to do nothing at all.
  2. If you yourself are dealing with issues related to being a member of a marginalized group, get a white male (especially a white cisgender heterosexual male) to help fix it. If you can’t find one who will, contact me. I am a white cisgender male, though I am extremely not-heterosexual. Still, I will try to address the problem. Even if you are not personally dealing with issues, if you are a member of a marginalized group, you should not accept the burden of fixing the problem of your marginalization. It is fair and just and proper for you to first hope/expect a white man to do it.
  3. We all have implicit bias. This doesn’t make us bad people. What makes us bad people is if we refuse to accept that we have it. Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test and ask your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Write syllabus statements that foster an inclusive classroom. There are some examples at the bottom of this syllabus. Even better, follow a multitude of inclusive teaching practices.
  5. Reduce stereotype threat in your students. At the start of assignments/exams I give, I sometimes require students to answer this prompt: “Peer-reviewed research in educational psychology (e.g., Cohen et al., Science, 2006, cited nearly 1000 times) demonstrates that beginning with a reflection on your own personal values can help you do a more effective job on this learning exercise. So for this ungraded (but required) question, simply write a paragraph or two about your values. What is important to you in life?
  6. Volunteer (loudly) to do professional service related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  7. Go out of your way to nominate members of marginalized groups for prizes, fellowships, and other professional/academic honors. Here’s an example of an effort I ran a few years ago.
  8. Most job ads I read are terribly exclusionary. Familiarize yourself with effective practices in writing inclusive job ads and act on them. Here’s an example of an inclusive job ad I wrote. It raised a few eyebrows on my campus because it is so different from many of the ads posted, but I am grateful that my college was very supportive of posting it and I got an incredibly diverse applicant pool.
  9. Dedicate part of your research program to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Here’s a data science paper I wrote on gender representation in math, a data science paper I wrote on gender and ethnic representation in art, and my student’s senior thesis that uses Markov chains to model the college admissions pipeline and assess critical mass in affirmative action policies.
  10. Familiarize yourself with Title IX and other hostile work environment policies at your institution. Ask your chair or dean to do a refresher training for your department. Then use these policies. If something happens to you or if you see it happen to someone else, report it.