The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) is a standing committee within the Chemistry Department composed of faculty, staff, postdocs, and students. We believe that diversity, including with respect to race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, and disabilities, is our strength. We are committed to promoting the values of inclusion and equity. The purpose of this Committee is to lead the Department’s efforts to address issues identified with input from Women+ In Chemistry, QoL and other Department members or groups and to implement action plans that progress the Department’s goal to create and sustain an actively anti-racist and anti-discrimination community/culture providing a welcoming and enriching environment for all.
- The Committee will create, implement and optimize programs that support the success of and create a welcoming environment for all underrepresented groups in the Department.
- The Committee will regularly re-evaluate the Department’s hiring and admissions processes.
- The Committee will design and oversee active recruitment efforts and address programmatic obstacles for underrepresented groups with the goal of increasing the number of students from diverse backgrounds that are recruited to and choose MIT Chemistry.
- The Committee will lead advocacy efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work to enhance cultural competence, support anti-racism efforts, and seek to create an overall more inclusive culture both within and beyond the Department.
- The Committee will inform the departmental vision for targeted efforts that will make chemistry generally, and MIT Chemistry specifically, more accessible for underrepresented groups.
The Committee is not expected to manage ongoing efforts in these areas. Rather, the aim of the DEIC is to provide vision, make recommendations/action plans and oversee efforts at a high level. Further, where possible, the committee should be proactive, making proposals before problems arise. It is anticipated that some of these efforts, if successful, will require significant investments of time and financial support from both the Department and the Institute to ensure sustainability.
Examples of initiatives that the DEIC may want to consider early in their process include the following (many of which have emerged from #ShutDownSTEM discussions within the Department):
- Working with QoL to implement the in-person, department-wide implicit bias training.
- Re-evaluating the Graduate Admissions process and our PhD program.
- Creating a job description for a full- or part-time departmental equity officer.
- Designing new strategies and mechanisms for MIT Chemistry to expand ability to recruit and empower underrepresented groups. One approach might be the “Bridge to PhD” program for post-Bac students with weaker academic backgrounds to prepare them for successful PhD application. See, for example, programs at Columbia and Fisk-Vanderbilt.
- Developing a 10-year plan to increase the number of underrepresented minority graduate students with special emphasis on Black Students.
Where possible, the DEIC should also consider how the Department can attract appropriate resources (e.g., money, personnel, time) to implement and sustain these proposals.
- This Committee is intended to complement and actively cooperate with several existing committees and student groups, in particular QoL, WIC, CGSC, ChemREFS, and ChemPDA.
- Along with faculty and staff members, the Committee will include an appointed representative from each of WIC+, CGSC, and ChemPDA. These representatives will serve as full members of the Committee. At the Committee’s discretion, additional student and postdoc members may be included, as well as non-departmental members.
- This Committee, although composed of a mixture of faculty, staff, postdocs, and students, functions as a normal faculty committee with the authority to formally recommend changes and new policies and procedures to the Department.
- The Committee should ensure that the associated work does not fall excessively on underrepresented groups. As appropriate, the Committee may assemble an ad hoc working group tasked with developing and/or implementing specific proposals.
- The Committee will have an external advisory board (EAB) that will both educate the committee on best practices and evaluate the work of the committee to annually review progress to make sure that the Committee itself is not, however unintentionally, reinforcing inequity with its actions. The Chair of DEIC will also arrange for at least one additional web conference with the EAB every year. This EAB will contain representatives both from within MIT (but outside the Department) and from other institutions. The Department will commit funds to compensate outside EAB members appropriately for their time. The Committee will produce an annual report that will be distributed at the discretion of the Department Head.
- In year 1, the Committee will be provided with a budget of $10,000. Such a budget, uniquely provided to this Committee and not to any other Committee in the department, emphasizes the critical importance of the Committee’s efforts to the overall vision of our Department. The funds are intended to help support participation in conferences by Committee members to learn and share best practices, to organize and help fund recruitment efforts, to arrange and pay for speakers on relevant issues to the Department, and/or for any other purposes that the Committee deems appropriate in helping to efficiently and effectively pursue its objectives. In future years, the amount budgeted will be re-evaluated based on need – noting that it may be possible to fund many or all of these efforts through other means (e.g., School of Science QoL grants).
The DEIC is comprised of graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. The Committee also invites appointed representatives from the graduate student and postdoc groups. These representatives are full members of the Committee, and help to ensure there is a clear avenue for the groups to provide input to DEIC and for the groups to learn about and make suggestions on the issues DEIC is actively working to address.
The chair of DEIC is Professor Laura Kiessling.
Click here to nominate someone for membership in the DEIC committee.
If you have any feedback for the DEIC regarding our mission, plans for recruiting and retaining faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students, or anything else, please use this form to provide your thoughts, either anonymously or not anonymously. We take this feedback seriously and will work to make changes to achieve the goals of the DEIC.