Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
Academia has a concerning and enduring history of systemic exclusion and inequality, and this is especially true for STEM disciplines. To address this, the Tufts Chemistry Department has assembled a dedicated group of faculty, staff, and students who are deeply committed to finding new ways to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in our department. Real and substantive change in this area is critical to create a Chemistry community—both within Tufts and beyond—that is welcoming to students and researchers from all backgrounds and will inspire the best science for generations to come.
Your Voice Matters!
We recognize that each individual who enters our department has a different set of prior experiences, preferences, ideas, and worldviews that shapes their experience while at Tufts. We therefore welcome feedback from all members of our community. You are encouraged to submit your thoughts and ideas using this anonymous form or by email to the Chemistry DEIJ Committee Chair.
Are you a current student or trainee who would like to get involved on our committee? We’d love to hear from you. In general, we review applications from our community members in June for appointments that begin the following academic year.
The Chemistry Department of Tufts University seeks to support an inclusive and diverse community of scholars, researchers, and learners. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee oversees department-wide efforts to recognize systemic bias and structures that privilege the dominant culture and alienate individuals from marginalized groups. Guided by the principles of equity and justice, we aim to implement systemic change to eliminate bias, to ensure that diverse ways of learning and expression are supported, to provide equal opportunity to every member of the community, and to support each individual faculty member, staff member, postdoctoral researcher, graduate student, and undergraduate student.
The Tufts Chemistry Department is committed to taking action on important DEIJ issues. Here is information about some of our initiatives:
Partnering with ACS Bridge
The ACS Bridge Program seeks to "strengthen the chemical sciences in the United States by increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who receive doctoral degrees in chemical sciences." In 2021, our Department was named an ACS Bridge Partner based on our history of thoughtful and individualized mentorship and our success to date in training scholars from diverse backgrounds. As one of 27 official Partner programs nationwide, we are delighted to be able to provide support to Bridge programs at other institutions and to recruit Bridge scholars into our PhD program.
Reevaluating Introductory Chemistry Sequences
The Chemistry faculty have convened a working group to address inequities in outcomes for our introductory chemistry sequence. Reforms could include curricular, pedagogical, administrative, and/or structural changes that will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in introductory Chemistry courses. Our initial reforms in this area were implemented in Fall 2022, with continuous assessment and adjustments in subsequent semesters.
Developing an Equitable Process for Undergraduate Research
The Chemistry faculty have worked to reform the processes through which undergraduates are introduced to chemistry research and join research labs in our department, with the goal of making undergraduate research more inclusive and accessible. In Fall 2022, we launched a new undergraduate research webpage that answers frequently-asked questions about independent research, provides information about the number of available positions in each Chemistry lab and relevant timeline(s) for consideration, and introduces a new, centralized application portal for undergraduates seeking to join research labs.
Engaging Students with a Minor in Chemistry
To create a larger community of Chemistry students at Tufts, and to allow more students to identify as belonging in our Department and in our discipline, we have developed a series of Chemistry Minors. These Minors will allow students to gain expertise in a specific Chemistry sub-discipline without having to complete all the requirements for a Chemistry Major. The Chemistry Minors were developed and approved during the 2021 Academic Year and became available for students to declare beginning in Fall 2022.
Supporting Personal Needs
Our Department has created a dedicated privacy room in our building, which offers support for a variety of personal needs, such as those of lactating mothers among our students, staff, and faculty. We have also partnered with PERIOD, the menstrual movement at Tufts, to supply free menstrual products in common bathrooms in our buildings so that no student has to choose between menstrual products and other basic necessities. We continue to identify ways to provide infrastructure and supplies that support the personal needs of individuals in our department.
Revealing the Personal Stories Behind the Science
Our Department has recently started a new initiative to invite our seminar speakers to provide a brief retrospective of their life and/or career stories at the start of their talk. This idea is based on the popular "Growing up in Science" series that was started at NYU in 2014. Growing up in Science emphasizes and normalizes the personal stories behind a polished CV, revealing the challenges that we all experience during our careers.
Encouraging Conference Travel for Graduate Students
Attending a conference is an essential training experience for graduate students, enabling them to expand their scholarly horizons, network with other professionals, and explore career opportunities. To ensure that every graduate student in our Department has equal opportunity to attend a conference, our DEIJ committee partnered with the Graduate Committee to develop Travel Fellowships, supported by the Ronald J. Poole Chemistry Fellowship Fund, which provide up to $1200 for each graduate student to attend one conference during their Ph.D. studies. In addition to enhancing opportunities for training and career preparation, this new program will increase equity for conference travel and lead to an increased sense of belonging within the larger scientific community for all of our students.