The Department of Integrative Biology includes and serves faculty, staff, academic specialists, postdocs, students, and alumni from a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds. We feel that diversity of perspectives strengthens our ability to advance science and enhances our ability to effectively serve our educational and research missions. Integrative Biology is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that enriches our learning environment and innovative research. We believe that a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion leads to new ways of thinking, behaving, and caring. We embrace the diversity of our department and community, including persons of varying ages, disability, ethnicity, family status, sex, gender identity, geographic region, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, and other varied backgrounds and life experiences.
Definition: The presence of individuals with differences within a given community, that may include race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, ability status, and national origin.
Clarification: A person does not represent diversity. However, their uniqueness can bring diversity to a group that extends beyond the status quo (or the boundaries of traditional grass-roots diversity). Diversity is about a collective or a group.
We commit to increasing and sustaining a diverse community, where people’s backgrounds and social identities are represented and valued within our faculty, staff, specialists, students, and others within the College of Natural Science. Diversity can refer to but is not limited to race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, ability status, and national origin.
Definition: The provision of structures used to reconcile prior challenges in accessing opportunities and available resources needed to meet one’s goals.
Clarification: Equity is a process that recognizes that not everyone starts from the same place because advantages and barriers exist that are driven by, for example, varying socioeconomic factors, ideologies, and perceptions. Equity works to correct these imbalances to ensure everyone has access to opportunities and resources. According to the Race Matters Institute, equity is a process, and equality is an outcome of that process. “The route to achieving equity will not be accomplished by treating everyone equally. It will be achieved by treating everyone equitably, or justly according to their circumstances.”
We recognize there are current and historical practices and policies within (and agencies outside of) the College of Natural Science and MSU that have led to unequal access and outcomes for people belonging to minoritized groups. We commit to understanding and utilizing practices that ensure members of our college have access to opportunities and resources needed to meet their academic and professional goals. By adopting equity-based practices, we will identify and strive to eliminate policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce achievement barriers.
Definition: The state of a community where people of all identities are visibly and deliberately welcomed, engaged, and celebrated, with full and authentic participation within a given setting.
Clarification: Inclusion isn’t a natural consequence of diversity. You can have a diverse team of talent, but that doesn’t mean they feel welcomed or valued or are given opportunities to grow. An analogy from Vernā Myers says, “Diversity’ is being asked to the party. ‘Inclusion’ is being asked to dance.” Others have added that inclusion means being able to contribute to the playlist.
We commit to fostering an environment where our faculty, staff, specialists, students, and others within the College of Natural Science community are engaged, valued, respected, and have a sense of belonging. Our community will thrive when members are able to participate in relevant decision-making, raise concerns without retaliation, and have their concerns addressed.
Definition: Accessibility is the usability of service, environment, product, or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities. In an accessible environment, everyone is afforded the opportunity to access the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services.
Clarification: Accessibility is not restricted to the design of environments and products for people with physical disabilities; it also encompasses accommodation of hidden disabilities. Although this might not result in ease of use identical to that of persons without disabilities, it should ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities.
We commit to creating an environment in which all members of our community have equitable access to the opportunities within, and services provided by, the Department of Integrative Biology. We endeavor to provide accessibility for all via our practices, policies, and the physical environment of learning within the department. We strive to remove all barriers and provide a safe and welcoming space for learning, teaching,
research, and outreach to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience.
* These statements were developed by the College of Natural Science DEI Working Group and modified by the Integrative Biology DEI committee.
Together with the College of Natural Science, we strive to recruit, retain, and develop a diverse group of individuals to ensure a vibrant community that promotes excellence in education and discovery at Michigan State University. Therefore, it is vital that Integrative Biology, along with the College of Natural Science and University leadership to work jointly/concurrently in achieving the following goals:
- Implement policies and best practices that promote diversity and equity among our community of faculty, academic specialists, post-docs, staff, and student populations.
- Foster and sustain retention of a diverse community of faculty, academic specialists, post-docs, staff, and students.
- Create an inclusive and supportive climate for all members of the department that provides equitable opportunities for learning and success.
- Establish fair and transparent practices to ensure that all members have equitable opportunities for advancement and promotion in accordance with their professional goals.
We encourage you to provide anonymous feedback and/or suggestions for consideration by the Integrative Biology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to guide and/or assist our continued efforts to make ourselves a more welcoming and inclusive community.