The Ecology Interdisciplinary Degree Program (IDGP) at Penn State is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for all of its members and collaborators.
We recognize the strength of an interdisciplinary program in its potential to unite a community that is diverse in its views, values, and perspectives. To uphold and expand upon this tremendous responsibility, our goal is to build a program that represents, encourages, and respects diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, and socio-economic background. As a community, we will challenge one another to ensure that our program is inclusive of all aspects of diversity, especially for the communities that have been and continue to be excluded and oppressed.
In the Ecology program, we have the opportunity to broadly pursue diversity and inclusion. Our program spans multiple departments and colleges and includes academics at all stages, allowing us to take action that can have far-reaching impacts. However, we recognize that this process requires not only action from the larger entities at play, but also introspection and action at the individual level, with the goal of bettering the program for all. We will facilitate the individual change required for the holistic progress of the program by clearly defining our values, fostering an environment of learning and holding each other to a moral standard. As a program, we (1) value and respect the diverse identities, experiences and life challenges of all community members and support the expression of these diverse perspectives, (2) value the rights of every person to dignity, kindness and mutual respect and (3) value self-reflection by individuals and as a community to regularly reassess our community culture and pursue positive change.
Our Ecology community will aim to recognize unconscious and conscious bias that may influence our interactions with others and take steps to break these biases down. We recognize that conversations in the realm of diversity and inclusion can be effectively integrated into existing structures; doing so will assure community participation and will also highlight the fact that considering diversity is intrinsic to the field of ecology, rather than just an aside. Actions will involve incorporating discussion of the problematic history of our field within departmental courses and critically examining the inclusivity of experimental design when guiding students through project development. We will hold each member of the Ecology program accountable for treating each other with dignity, kindness and mutual respect and will ensure that University protocols for reporting bias and discrimination are strictly understood and followed.
As ecologists, recognizing and discussing the history of our field is crucial in our strides towards a diverse and inclusive program. The field of ecology has a history steeped in the oppression of marginalized groups and has had an explicit role in maintaining and spreading racist ideologies. As faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students of the Ecology IDGP, we seek to acknowledge this history and work toward abolishing structures in our program, University, and field that perpetuate this legacy of oppression. We strive to more effectively advocate for the institutional and disciplinary changes needed to address inequities that have arisen from historical oppression.
In order to ensure that the goals and standards for diversity and inclusion will be met, the Ecology IDGP has formed a committee for Diversity and Inclusion. This committee consists of faculty, students, and staff of the Ecology IDGP from diverse backgrounds that will meet quarterly to identify priorities to fulfill our mission, discuss strategies for leadership and effective implementation, review success, and plan action items.
This is a living document that will continue to be revised and updated by the Ecology IDGP Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee on an annual basis.
Diversity Statement Contributors 2021: