What we’re doing for DEI

Biological Sciences is continually working to support our students academically, personally, and professionally. Here are some of the things that we’re doing:

POLICIES AND PRACTICES

  • We expanded our committee dedicated to DEI actions. We formed a DEI committee to help establish the department as an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives and backgrounds, promotes equitable treatment of students, faculty, and staff, and ensures that full participation in learning, mentoring, research, and engagement is accessible to all. As individuals, we will work to continually learn and respond to feedback by making changes that improve the environments in our classrooms, labs, and offices. As a department, we will pursue systemic changes that remove barriers to inclusion in learning, scholarship, engagement and outreach, technological and managerial innovation, and service.
  • We are educating and encouraging the NC State community to reject the use of in-home video-based proctoring. Our department has been working to stop the use of in-home video-based proctoring because it has been shown to disproportionately impact students of color, trans and non-binary students, disabled and neurodivergent students, students who are parents or caregivers, and students experiencing housing or financial insecurity. As a committee, we drafted a statement and asked our faculty whether they would reject the use of video-based proctoring. We are still collecting signatures, but at this point, we believe that no classes in Biological Sciences (including microbiology, genetics, biology, zoology, and toxicology) will be using this technology, and to date, 57 instructors have signed on to the statement. We hope that this will continue to gain momentum and serve as an example for other departments.
  • We invited students to form a Student DEI Advisory Committee. We invited students to establish an advisory committee so that we can work in coordination to identify priorities. This committee is a work in progress – coming soon
  • Our graduate programs are no longer requiring GREs. Our graduate programs (Genetics, Genetics and Genomics Scholars program, Biology) do not require GREs because we recognize that they are culturally biased and are not strong predictors of future success.
    Some additional information about GREs:
    Predictors of Student Productivity in Biomedical Graduate School Applications
    The Limitations of the GRE in Predicting Success in Biomedical Graduate School
  • Our faculty are encouraged to use an inclusive syllabus. We have developed an “inclusive” syllabus template that all faculty are encouraged to personalize and use. This syllabus is reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it provides our students with personal, professional, and academic resources that they need to succeed in their courses.  This syllabus can be found HERE.
  • Biological Sciences is augmenting university programs to address food insecurity in our buildings.  NC State and campus partners have developed many programs, notably Pack Essentials, to support students in need of food, housing, financial, and educational security. Biological Sciences extends accessibility by providing open access to free snacks and personal items in our buildings.
  • We are instituting new programs and expanding our curriculum to reflect the importance of DEI educational and professional opportunities for our students. We recently launched a new Global Health minor, which includes a new course entitled, GPH 201 Fundamentals of Global Public Health.

FUNDING: Our faculty have received funding from federal and other sources to develop programs to expand diversity and inclusivity – some of these grants are noted here.

  • Inclusive Excellence. Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). 2018-present. PI: Jane Lubischer; co-PIs: Jason Flores, Lisa Parks.
  • RCN-UBE Incubator Stem Build: A network of undergraduates, faculty, and makers utilizing 3D printing to Build Understanding through Inclusive Learning Design. National Science Foundation (NSF) 12/1/2020 – 11/31/2021. Co-PIs: Claire Gordy and Melissa Ramirez
  • Collaborative Research: Building Capacity to Improve STEM Education through Citizen Science by Scaling Up University-Community Partnerships. This program seeks to build the capacity for establishing citizen science communities that engage students in meaningful learning experiences in and around the Nation’s largest Historically Black College or University, North Carolina A&T State University. Citizen Science refers to efforts to involve volunteers from across different sectors of society, stakeholder groups, and communities in the scientific process. NC State has been a leader in efforts to bring Citizen Science into university classrooms through Active Learning (Bonwell & Eison, 1991) pedagogies. NSF. 10/01/2020 – 09/30/2022. Co-PIs: Caren Beth Cooper and Bucky (Terry) Allen Gates.
  • Environmental health research experiences for teachers in high-poverty schools: a professional development program. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIEHS/NIH)   2018-2022. Co-PIs: Reade Roberts and Margareta Thompson (College of Education)
  • CRECER: Cultivating Research with Community-Engaged Roots. Burroughs-Wellcome Student STEM Enrichment Program. Residential research program for Latinx students from rural NC high schools. 02/01/2020-08/30/2023. Co-PIs: Claire Gordy and Melissa Ramirez.     
  • BioTechnology Sequencing-based Undergraduate Research Experience (BIT SURE). Research experience for undergraduates with a focus on recruiting and including Deaf/Hard of Hearing students and partnering with NC School for the Deaf. NSF REU. 9/15/17-8/31/21. PI: Carlos Goller. 
  • Science Learning+: STEM Teens: Examining the Role of Youth Educators as Learners and Teachers in Informal STEM Learning Sites. This proposal is for a Science Learning+ Partnership Grant to examine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) engagement outcomes for youth educators and the visitors with whom they interact in informal STEM learning sites (ISLS).12/01/2017 – 02/28/2022. Co-PIs:  Adam Hartstone-Rose and Kelly Lynn Mulvey.
  • STEM initiative grant to Miriam Ferzli and Grace Carroll to use online software to model data in Introductory Biology concepts