Committee on Inclusivity and Environment
Recent events in the US have brought renewed focus to the very serious, pervasive, and persistent problem of systemic racism in our nation. As members of The Physics Department at Montana State University, we unequivocally condemn racism and stand together with our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues, students and their families.
The physics community in the United States, including our department, does not reflect the diversity of our country, nor of our state. We believe that this lack of diversity is not due to lack of talent, but instead lack of opportunity. Therefore,through a charge by the department, the Committee on Inclusivity and Environmentis committed to actively working to support and increase opportunities for people who are underrepresented in the field.
As members of the Committee on Inclusivity and Environment, we support policies that encourage broad participation in physics and promote the development of a fulfilling career in physics by all people. As a community of faculty, staff, postdocs, and students, we strive to reform policies that are susceptible to implicit bias, discrimination, racism, or other factors that result in the exclusion or discouragement of participants based on protected class. We support a professional workplace and classrooms that are inclusive to all people.
Signed by the MSU Physics Committee on Inclusivity and Environment:
Nick Borys (Faculty)
Katie Fasbender (Graduate Student)
Charles Kankelborg (Faculty)
Amy Reines (Faculty)
Shannon Willoughby (Chair)
Additional Supporting Signatures:
Nick Childs (Faculty)
Angela Des Jardins (Faculty)
Mallory Molina (Postdoctoral Fellow)
David Nidever (Faculty)
Paul Rugheimer (Faculty)
John Sample (Faculty)
Dick Smith (Emeritus Faculty)
The Committee on Inclusitivity and Environment within the Physics Department will be taking steps during the 2020-21 academic year to:
- Create a page on the MSU physics department website that explicitly describes the pathways to report discriminatory behavior.
- Gather information on the departmental climate through surveys (e.g., created by the American Institute of Physics and/or MSU Women+ in Physics). The survey is closed, and results will be shared as deemed appropriate by the creators of the survey.
- Use the results from this survey and work with the MSU Office of Institutional Equity to create a strategic plan to implement policy or departmental changes that will be presented to the faculty.
- Encourage faculty and other members of the Physics Department to take the implicit bias tests offered here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
During the 2021-2022 academic year, the committe gathered information again gathered information regarding the climate within the physics department. The results of this survey were presented to the facult meeting during the spring semester in 2022. Additionally, the committee developed a set of professional expectations for the department. After two faculty meetings and discussions with the Dean of Students, this set of expectations has been published and can be found here: https://physics.montana.edu/ugrad/policypage.html
During the 2022-2023 academic year, the committee wil do the following:
- Present at a colloquium on October 14th, 2022. Topics will include:
- discussion of the professional expectations, including motivation for the development of this document
- discussion of one of the main themes gleaned from the first two climate surveys: work/life balance
- We will be updating the physics department website this year
- We will host several events to support students and faculty in developing work/life balance
- Gather information regarding the climate in physics for the third time