CoSTEM Diversity & Inclusion Statement
The face of the United States and the world is continually changing. In order to be successful, the College of STEM must be at the forefront of progress. Therefore, it is imperative that we prepare our students to thrive in a diverse and inclusive workplace after they complete their educational journey at APSU. We maintain a collegial, inclusive and equitable environment; foster different ideas; support those with different abilities, backgrounds, and needs; and ensure that college activities are open to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors regardless of abilities, age, creed, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Diversity and diverse perspectives are invaluable in teaching, research, and service and we will not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination, or prejudice. We will conduct ourselves in a professional manner and treat everyone with dignity and respect.
We recognize that the makeup of faculty and staff in our college does not reflect the community we serve. In 2019-2020, 41% of students across campus (43% in the college) self-identified as persons of color, while only 21% of our faculty and staff identified as persons of color. Forty percent of faculty and staff in the college identified as female, while across campus 59% of students (44% in the college) identified as female. These imbalances in representation are barriers for students who are not able to identify with their mentors and can be severely detrimental to the educational experience of our students. We recognize that our imbalances are not unique within STEM disciplines nationally and there are discipline-specific variations; however, that does not release us from the need to work deliberately and actively to recruit and retain faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups. Our goal is to continue to shift this imbalance in order to be more reflective of the community we serve. We recognize we also need to do better at collecting and presenting demographic information of our faculty, staff, and students in order to determine progress towards this goal to develop an inclusive and equitable environment for all individuals. For example, the binary gender choices of male and female are limiting.
We recognize barriers, such as inequality of, and access to resources and lack of peer support, exist in society and in our college that disproportionately hinder students from underrepresented groups. We stand with all groups and individuals working to condemn all forms of oppression. We recognize we need to do better, and in order to do so commit to the following actions:
- Form a CoSTEM Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which will have at least one representative from each department. This committee will provide oversight for these actions, collect and analyze data to continually monitor APSU CoSTEM climate, annually evaluate the progress of these actions as well as the overall statement, and seek and discuss future actions to further a collective college-wide effort towards institutional change.
- Be receptive to change and educate faculty and staff to act as advocates for students, especially when student safety is a concern.
- Implement CoSTEM Conversations, a monthly forum that will include opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to share their stories, concerns, and ideas to facilitate open conversations that lead to change.
- Feature speakers from underrepresented groups in their respective fields for the 2020-2021 CoSTEM Lecture Series.
- Establish CoSTEM Learns to educate APSU CoSTEM faculty, staff, and students, through reading, listening, viewing and discussing materials on topics including systemic racism, ethnic oppression, and gender equality. This will be highly encouraged of all members of CoSTEM, including linking relevant materials within courses, participating in small group discussions, and providing resources for self-education.
- Provide pedagogical resources that foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all students. These resources will be available in the College of STEM course in the University’s Learning Management System, D2L; all CoSTEM Faculty and Staff will have access. Resources include understanding implicit biases, ideas for incorporating diverse perspectives, and writing syllabi that are more inclusive.
- Actively recruit and intentionally work to retain faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups.
- Collect and openly present demographic data of APSU CoSTEM faculty, staff and student populations. Members of the CoSTEM Diversity and Inclusion Committee will work to determine additional data collection needs, and the best methods for data collection and analyses.
- Continue to support scholarships that are specifically for students from underrepresented groups or those with demonstrated financial need and encourage students to apply.
- Support APSU’s mission of “Promoting equal access, diversity, an appreciation of all cultures, and respect for all persons” and the goal of Diversity in APSU’s strategic plan, which means the “University seeks to build a climate of inclusion that will facilitate access and foster enrollment growth and student success”.
If you encounter discrimination or harassment please contact a trusted faculty or staff member, or contact the APSU Office of Equity, Access, and Inclusion.