Diversity and Climate Committee
The Diversity Affairs Committee was founded in 2013 as a standing departmental committee charged with “creating and maintaining an inclusive environment for students from all underrepresented groups in Chemistry, including those from underrepresented minorities (URM), persons with disabilities, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those from the LBGT community”. The DAC was rebranded as the Diversity and Climate Committee (DCC) in 2022 to emphasize its focus on helping to develop a departmental climate that supports minoritized groups at all academic levels. The DCC provides broad support (financial, logistical, etc.) to individual students and their organizations (see side bar) and sponsor activities that enhance knowledge of diversity, inclusion, and equity throughout the department.
Current members of the DCC are:
Noor Ali (ChemGRC representative)
Prof. Laura Brown
Prof. Charles Dann
Prof. Caroline Chick Jarrold
Prof. Jared Lewis (Chair)
Prof. Tom Snaddon
Prof. Steven Tait
Specific activities that the DCC is responsible for include:
- Presenting a “diversity moment” before every faculty meeting aimed at introducing faculty to different DEI concepts and issues within our department.
- Administering and analyzing a tri-annual climate survey (started in 2016)
- Participating in the College diversity chairs meetings and providing annual updates on departmental DEI efforts to the college
- Holding DCC office hours for students to present any questions or concerns they might have about department DEI efforts or climate
- Coordinating with ChemGRC to ensure that student concerns are brought before the full faculty
- Coordinating departmental attendance at national meetings for organizations including SACNAS, ABRCMS, and NOBCChE
- Promoting DEI efforts and amplifying voices via the #IUnite handle on our departmental twitter account
Past accomplishments of the DCC, often in collaboration with ChemGRC, include:
- Building renovations to enhance accessibility and provide single-occupancy (gender neutral; family accessible) restrooms.
- Designated a lactation room in the Chemistry Building.
- Updated the graduate student manual to include a policy on family leave
- Arranged for there to be a confidential CAPS Counselor in Residence in the Department of Chemistry.
- Designated a room (A704) for meditation and/or prayer outside of CAPS hours.
- Preparing a departmental “Code of Conduct” and accompanying signage
- Assisting with preparation of our department’s ACS-funded MS-to-PhD ACS Bridge program
- Coordinated STEM recruiting efforts and conference attendance with the College and other departments at IU
Actions taken to address key issues raised in the 2019 climate survey include:
- Expanded DGS role in welcoming and integrating international students into the department
- Revised 2nd and 4th year requirements to better equalize expectations between divisions and to increase student contact with committee members
- Added information on how AI assignments are made to the graduate handbook
- Added an embedded counselor to our department who provides topical workshops, including personal motivation, time management, and mental/physical health
- Decreased the workload associated with C103 and C127 AI assignments
Actions taken to address key issues raised in the 2022 climate survey include:
- Established a departmental activities committee to ensure that inclusive social events would be planned at regular Intervals throughout the year.
- Created a dedicated room (bullpen, C051) for first-year students to relax, grade papers, and print course materials.
- Established DCC and ChemGRC office hours to facilitate feedback on departmental climate
- Updated the diversity website to better explain the role of the DCC, ChemGRC, and the connections between the two
- Updated the diversity website to provide additional resources for allyship, bystander intervention, maintaining a civil workplace, mentor/mentee expectations and dos/don’ts, and other topics related to departmental climate