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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity Statement

In order to meet the immense challenge of deciphering the complexity of biology, it is essential to harness the ideas of people of all backgrounds. However, we recognize that many groups have been historically marginalized in both society and science. We recognize these challenges and historical inequities and are committed to making our community welcoming to scholars and staff with diverse backgrounds.

Charge of our DEI Committee

Acknowledging the importance and extent of the tasks we are facing, the department has created the departmental DEI committee, a standing committee consisting of individuals representing all constituents of the department. The committee is charged with providing recommendations for departmental DEI initiatives that will create an equitable and inclusive environment for all.

Mission of the DEI Committee

The Standing Committee on DEI seeks to reduce barriers in order to support all Department of Cell Biology members in the pursuit of their career goals. In particular, we recognize and seek to remove challenges faced by racial and ethnic minorities, women and gender minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and first-generation and economically disadvantaged individuals. Through these efforts, we aim to build a system of ongoing positive change in order to create an environment that is welcoming to all.

Department of Cell Biology DEI Goals for 2022

The committee has identified three main thrusts for the Department:

  • Recruitment and Retention to diversify our Department community at all levels
  • Inclusion through an emphasis of DEI training, DEI initiatives and transparent communication
  • Advancement of underrepresented groups through better support for fellowship and award opportunities and improved faculty mentorship.

Specific goals have been defined for 2022 through a process that included input from the DEI committee and dialog with faculty. The plan was further discussed with Darin Latimore (Deputy Dean for Diversity and Inclusion) and has received his endorsement. Many of the activities related to these goals are expected to become part of the department culture and will carry forward into subsequent years. We also expect that new ideas will emerge and will be incorporated into future plans.

Starting in 2022, we commit within this framework to the following concrete goals:

  • Work with the YSM Office of DEI to develop quantitative metrics to promote accountability in the achievement of DEI goals for basic science departments (Faculty Lead: Shawn Ferguson, DEI Vice Chair)
  • Participate in the YSM Science Fellow program aiming to recruit a YSMSF to Cell Biology. The department will provide financial support such that this recruitment will represent an expansion of the YSMSF program (Faculty Lead: Jim Rothman)
  • Afford all members of the department the opportunity for unconscious bias training by the YSM Office of DEI (Faculty Lead: Shawn Ferguson)
  • Increase the diversity of invited seminar speakers (Faculty Lead: Min Wu)
  • Introduce a workshop at the department retreat providing participants the opportunity to share our identities in a relaxed setting (Faculty Lead: Shangqin Guo)
  • Introduce a suite of Professional Development Workshops and Seminars. This is a broad initiative that will build on the success of our Beyond the Bench seminars. Potential topics include: training targeted to enhancing success in predoc, postdoc fellowships and diversity supplements; mentorship training for faculty, especially to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences of people from underrepresented groups; training and best practices for meeting presentations, professional networking, job-hunting strategies and how to do a chalk talk. The program will evolve based on community feedback (Faculty Lead: Xiaolei Su)
  • Carry out annual departmental climate survey produced by YSM Office of DEI, including feedback on the department's DEI Strategy & Goals, and progress being made (Faculty Lead: Joerg Bewersdorf)