Drillers on the front lawn of Cooke Hall.

The summer 2021 UB Geology Field Camp class observes and takes notes as workers from Buffalo Drilling Company operate a rig to drill one of the wells. The company employs many UB alumni. We run the field camp in multiple formats to ensure accessibility for our students. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

BeAJEDI in UB Geology: Belonging, Accessibility, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

The UB Geology Department is committed to providing an inclusive, accessible, safe, and anti-racist environment where everyone can learn and thrive. We are proud of our collegial department that has had faculty gender parity since 2006, a decade before gender parity was reached in Earth Science PhD programs1. Even so, we recognize that we can improve our curriculum, department, and disciplines to be more inclusive, accessible, and safe.

Fostering such an environment serves three important purposes:
1. Diversity is synonymous with excellence, as it illustrates rigor in recruiting from the full pool of top candidates, retaining them to successful completion of their UB goals, and advancing them to careers outside of UB,
2. A diverse community of scholars, staff, and students, who bring a variety of perspectives to creative problem-solving, enhances our innovation and quality in research, teaching, and outreach, and
3. Working in an inclusive, accessible, and safe environment is key to being engaged and empowered citizens of UB and the world.

We present our strategic anti-racism plan to improve Belonging, Accessibility, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (BeAJEDI)2, including demographic information, barriers to broad participation in our department, and goals, available here. We advocate for a future with URM3 participation in geosciences education and professions proportional to representation in the population. Our overarching goal is to contribute to the transformation of higher education beginning with our own department. Success in achieving our goals will result in an increase in URMs among our department members.

We are taking actions to meet our goals, including recruiting diverse faculty for an ongoing search for an Associate or Full Professor of Empire Innovation: Geological Hazards and for the UB Distinguished Visiting Scholar program.

Finally, we acknowledge that this work takes effort and time, and the buy-in of our entire organization. These efforts are led by our EDI committee. We welcome input and feedback from members of our community. You may share questions or suggestions with the committee chair, the graduate student representative, or the undergraduate student representative.

 

1Bernard, R.E., Cooperdock, E.H.G., 2018. No progress on diversity in 40 years. Nature Geoscience 11, 292. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0116-6
2Ali, H.N., Sheffield, S.L., Bauer, J.E., Caballero-Gill, R.P., Gasparini, N.M., Libarkin, J., Gonzales, K.K., Willenbring, J., Amir-Lin, E., Cisneros, J., Desai, D., Erwin, M., Gallant, E., Gomez, K.J., Keisling, B.A., Mahon, R., Marín-Spiotta, E., Welcome, L., Schneider, B., 2021. An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations. Nat Commun 12, 3794. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23936-w
3URM = Underrepresented Minority, refers to groups that are historically marginalized and therefore underrepresented in the geosciences, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Consistent with UB, we also use the term URM to include LGBTQ and differently able persons, although there are little to no data available about participation by these groups in the geosciences.