Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

We aim to improve the climate in ways that all community members feel safe, supported, included and seen at multiple levels.

In particular, we are working to:

  • acknowledge the inequitable history in our disciplines and on our campus, including through modules in our curriculum and clear statements of our diversity, equity and inclusion values and displays on campus that provide more context about historic injustices at UT and beyond.

  • embark on new efforts to highlight the perspectives, stories and voices of community members from historically marginalized groups, including in college communications, events and regular meetings with college leaders.

  • expand engagement with institutions and groups outside of UT that serve communities of color, so that we are intentional partners with groups the college has rarely or never reached.

  • develop college-wide teaching and mentoring resources, including new courses and curriculum modules; relevant seminar series and evidence-based trainings; and new mentoring and career development programs.

Examples of Progress:

  • Established a Summer 2022 Working Group focused on improving mentoring of graduate students. Key recommendations from this group are actively being implemented, including:
    • Creating a compilation of resources for mentoring best practices (Mentoring Expectation; Mentee Toolkit, Year 1 IDP, Conflict Resolution Guide);
    • Piloting a "faculty friend" program for postdocs to create connections to faculty outside of their labs;
    • Launching a CNS Excellence in Mentoring of Graduate Students award; and
    • Expanding mental health services for graduate students through both new CNS non-academic advisors and dedicated professionals in the Graduate School.
  • Hired a new Senior Training Coordinator who has launched efforts focused on staff training, leadership development, mentorship, and onboarding.
  • Bolstered the CNS DEI Concentration for undergraduates and added additional courses and seminars that build skills and prepare students for the future.
  • Coordinated with the University as it renamed one of the college’s and campus’s largest academic buildings, the Physics, Math and Astronomy Building, and participated in contextualization discussions for this and other buildings.
  • Amplified stories and experiences from all populations, including those underrepresented in our disciplines.
  • Hosted the New Equations community discussion series, where invited guest authors help our community explore the intersection of science and identity, as well as the inequitable histories upon which our disciplines have been built.
  • Provided multiple learning opportunities pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including:
    • Ongoing Bystander Intervention workshops facilitating with undergraduate and graduate students across the college;
    • Participation in a Women in STEM Conference;
    • Three-year research/practice partnership with the Texas Mindset Initiative aimed at better understanding teaching practices that significantly improve learning outcomes for all students; and
    • DEI focused modules during CNS Teaching Discovery Days.

Priorities for the Future:

  • Continue a college-wide focus on improving mentoring, ensuring systems are in place to provide graduate students and postdocs, as well as staff and undergraduates, consistent and positive mentoring.
  • Offer a new Equity in STEM Signature Course beginning in the 23-24 academic year.
  • Work closely with University Leadership on the Sweatt v. Painter Commemorative Gallery Space at the geographic center of our college buildings.
  • Expand and improve training, professional development and toolkits for employees, including by partnering with STEM education and third-party experts, while continuing reading groups, our event series with authors, and Science Sprint events that engage students in problem-solving around equity-related challenges at UT and in society.