Sent on behalf of Cass Moseley, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation
Back in June—which feels like both yesterday and a decade ago—we held a town hall to come together as a community to support the Black Lives Matter movement and grapple with the legacy of institutional racism and inequities in higher education. Since that time, we have continued to see health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, faced devastating wildfires in our community, and witnessed an insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol, driven in no small part by white supremacists. It would be so easy to give up hope.
And yet, there are so many encouraging signs—unprecedented voter turnout in the presidential election, the start of a global vaccination effort, and a growing commitment to use science in policy making at a national level. At UO, I am inspired by our researchers who continue to address racism, social justice, and disparities in so many ways—from understanding and documenting our nation’s history of white supremacy, to establishing a new center on racial and climate justice, to expanding testing capacity for vulnerable Latinx populations in Oregon.
Over the past 6 months, here in the OVPRI, we have taken a number of concrete steps to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in research and innovation across campus and within the OVPRI. We have developed:
- A newly articulated mission, vision, and values for the OVPRI, which includes a clear commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in research and innovation.
- Resources for faculty and students seeking external funding, including:
- Descriptions of existing institutional infrastructure, programs, and activities related to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in research (e.g., mentoring initiatives, recruitment, and retention activities).
- A searchable list of funding opportunities for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Checklists, templates, and examples to support the development of NIH diversity supplements and NSF supplements to support research experiences for undergraduates. Please reach out to Research Development Services, who continue to stay informed of new opportunities and are ready to support the development of DEI-focused applications.
- A focused strategy to seek federal funding to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion which targets programs where we are likely succeed and allow us to build competitiveness over time, developed in collaboration with Office of the Provost and the Division of Equity and Inclusion.
- A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee made up of staff from across the division, which has made significant progress on several efforts, including:
- Launching a buddy system for new staff, which we will pilot in a number of OVPRI units over the coming months to ensure that new employees feel welcomed and included.
- Developing a climate survey for OVPRI staff that we expect to launch this academic year and then implement on a regular basis going forward.
- Creating an opt-in listserv for disseminating information about diversity, equity, and inclusion relevant to research and innovation and the work of the OVPRI. To join this list, please visit https://lists.uoregon.edu/mailman/listinfo/ovprideic.
We know that these are small steps on a long, collective journey. We look forward to working with all of you to address these complex, deep-rooted challenges. Please reach out to us if you have suggestions or ideas for how we can make progress in fostering inclusive, equitable research environments.
Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation
Research Professor, Institute for a Sustainable Environment
University of Oregon