Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in EEB: Goals and progress

The KU Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is committed to an open, diverse, and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all of its members.

EEB strives to establish an inclusive and supportive environment that

  • welcomes, values, and supports individuals of diverse cultures and ethnicities
  • acknowledges and works to remove barriers to success at every career stage
  • actively listens and responds to the ideas, perspectives, and concerns of all individuals
  • recognizes and celebrates the achievements of all members
  • promotes awareness, safety, and cultural sensitivity in the practice of EEB research in the lab and the field
  • fosters collaboration and mutual appreciation of all colleagues’ successes

As a department, we are actively taking steps to achieve these goals. For example, we have implemented best practices for supporting our diverse graduate student population by

  • revamping our graduate admissions process to be more holistic, including eliminating the GRE requirement
  • formally evaluating mentorship and ensuring positive mentor-mentee relationships
  • raising minimum stipends for graduate students
  • actively recruiting from marginalized groups that have been historically excluded from EEB

For our undergraduate major, Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, we are revisiting our curricula to try to reduce barriers that prevent access to STEM majors, including reevaluating our prerequisites and developing new approaches to teaching quantitative skills.

As a department, we also actively invest in the success of our early- and mid-career faculty by

  • providing a formal mentorship program to guide new faculty towards tenure
  • remaining cognizant of and counteracting disproportionate service requests of faculty from marginalized groups
  • prioritizing early-career faculty’s needs in department-level funding and graduate admissions decisions
  • actively nominating early-career faculty for awards and opportunities at KU, nationally, and internationally
  • initiating research collaborations between senior and junior faculty members · connecting prospective faculty with affinity groups via the KU Pathway program

While much work still needs to be done to improve equity in EEB, we are proud of our recent progress. Out of 6 recent hires at that Assistant Professor level, 4 are women and 4 are people of color. 43% of our Full Professors are women—well above the national average. We maintain a diverse graduate student population in which individual achievements have been broadly recognized by multiple awards and fellowships, and by excellent rates of transition to next career stages.

Finally, KU EEB faculty, postdocs, and graduate students are actively engaged in several programs that work toward equity in STEM by fostering student success. These include

To learn more about resources and efforts at the University level, visit the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging.