Last week, we sat down together to talk about issues of diversity and inclusivity in our lab and in the broader field of Biology. The discussion was sparked by an earlier workshop led by UW-Madison’s Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) and hosted by the Entomology Department. The workshop highlighted some ways in which our implicit biases can play out to make underrepresented students and scientists feel less welcome in our research settings, meetings, and the classes that we teach. Because we recognize the historical lack of diversity in Ecology and want to build a more inclusive future, we continued this conversation during our next weekly lab meeting to talk about our role in this work.
One of our goals at lab meeting was to update our mission statement to reflect not only our dedication to scientific endeavors, but to heightening inclusivity in our lab and field. We split into teams and drafted statements describing what inclusivity in the lab would look and feel like to each of us. As a whole group, we then shared out these ideas and their importance. While this was a productive session, we agreed that shifting cultural norms will require ongoing attention and commitment. Some future initiatives on our plate include changing the imagery in our academic buildings to reflect the contributions of diverse scientists, implementing more active diversity-affirming hiring practices, and creating a page on our site dedicated to sharing resources and progress related to these topics. Has your lab or department discovered any effective strategies for tackling this challenge? Tried any cool trainings? If you’d like to share, you can reach out to Taylor Tai (firstname.lastname@example.org) to start a conversation!