We at the Bear would like to reassure our readers that the theme year of Free Expression at Cornell is neither advancing free speech nor interfering with the advance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Sciences. Take the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) for example. During this theme year of Free Expression, there is not a single working group promoting free speech in the sciences, which makes it as if the peaceful spirit of Trofim Lysenko descended on the school to quell all descent. By contrast, there are several vibrant, diverse and inclusive working groups in the SIPS Diversity and Inclusion Council working on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion measures.
These groups are working on the following action items to ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be firmly embedded in the plant sciences for decades to come. Below are some of the action items of the working groups:
Graduate student working groups
- Retention & Recruitment subgroup goals
- Keep funding graduate students and post docs to attend EDI conferences.
- Potentially be involved with planning graduate student EDI professional development activities.
- Community & Education subgroup goals
- Invite a speaker to be a part of SIPS planetary talks and talk about science behind EDI in a sociological context.
- Collaborate with moonshot writers to include EDI goals.
Curriculum development and review working group
- Review Cornell DEI rubric – Faculty hiring rubric for Cornell.
Academic support, technical and custodial staff working group
- What is the understanding of DEI among staff?
Faculty recruitment, promotion and support
- Review current practice for faculty hiring across sections-document baseline. Explore outreach efforts, selection committee selection, rubrics, integration of D&I etc.
- Explore possibility to bring in a SIPS level recruitment for D&I statements to be included in P&T processes. Review leadership and committee formation processes more broadly (renewal committees, chair positions etc.
- Discuss with Yael/Chelsea on metrics and outcome targeting.
- In regards to promotion and tenure – make a D&I statement and list of D&I activities a required part of a dossier.
Faculty and postdoc recruitment, promotion and support working group
- Analyze hiring process and how that affects the diversity of science.
- How does bias affect hiring of postdocs?
Allies for Indigenous Reconciliation working group
- Providing resources and promoting the systematic education of all faculty, staff, postdocs and students in SIPS on:
- Cornell’s involvement with violent and genocidal history,
- the ways in which Cornell may perpetuate Indigenous dispossession and exclusion,
- opportunities for positive and reparative action, and the status of ongoing efforts by AIISP and CU&ID
- Advocating for ongoing recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty and students in our departments
Communications working group
- What is best practice for posting SIPS DI Council Updates?
- How to best utilize SIPS website?
Trainings, events, seminars (includes educational resources and outreach)
- Maintain a list of event/ training session held at Cornell on the topic of diversity and Inclusion relevant to SIPS.
If these action items are actualized at the Fall Kickoff Meeting on October 5, 2023, SIPS should be in a very competitive position to win this year’s Trofim Lysenko Award for suppressing free speech in the sciences.