Inclusion encompasses empowerment and voice
among all members of the mathematics community
The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS) created a diversity committee in 2019, charged with examining current diversity efforts throughout the school and making recommendations to the Executive Committee and the Director on ways we can improve. Specific focal areas included addressing the need to deal with the growing body of evidence that there is gender and ethnicity bias in academic hiring and evaluation throughout the US, and what changes need to be made in SoMSS hiring and interview procedures in light of this evidence. Since that beginning, the committee has expanded its areas of focus (and changed its name) to include Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB).
The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences respectfully acknowledges that the school and ASU Tempe campus is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) peoples. In addition, Arizona is home to 22 Tribal Nations that comprise 27% of Arizona’s total land base. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the School strives to build sustainable relationships with Native American students and communities through scholarship, service and teaching, and we pledge to continue and expand this work.
Creating equitable hiring processes
The demographics for tenured and tenure-track faculty in SoMSS need improvement – only 20% women and 5% Black or Hispanic. The DEIB committee was formed with the charge of examining our current procedures, and of suggesting changes which will improve the overall climate of the school. The DEIB committee has been actively involved in all faculty searches performed since its inception; including in all aspects of the hiring process: revising wording of job ads and where they are advertised, creating more inclusive hiring rubrics, training committee members in how to review diversity statements, serving as equity advocates on hiring committees and making campus visits more welcoming. The number of women and minority faculty have increased in the last several years due to more inclusive hiring practices, but we have much room for improvement to create a truly diverse and inclusive school.
Advocating for students of color
The DEIB committee connects faculty with training and workshops, including Advocating for Students of Color: There’s More You Can Do, a virtual professional development experience for higher education faculty who are actively engaged in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the mathematical sciences. This four-part webinar is anchored in the belief that implementing small changes will compound to create drastic and large-scale transformation. By focusing on how to better advocate for students in your classroom, department, institution, and the mathematics community, the organizing team will guide participants to think critically about their practice and discuss concrete changes participants can implement. The goal is to share and commit to implementing changes in a way that is pragmatic, meaningful, and that cultivates cultures in which all students are seen, valued, and validated.
Building inclusive communities
To help our graduate program build a more inclusive community for those who are underrepresented in the mathematical sciences, the DEIB Committee invited Drs. Pamela Harris, Aris Winger and Michael Young to organize a custom webinar “Math SWAGGER: Lessons Learned for ASU/SoMSS." The webinar, specifically designed for SoMSS, focused on the main takeaways from the summer Math SWAGGER sessions and discussed what changes our graduate program faculty and leadership can make to help create a more supportive environment for incoming and current graduate students in the mathematical and statistical sciences at Arizona State University.