Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect Values Statement

Updated June 2022

We strive to enable Carleton students of all identities and backgrounds to be successful and feel a sense of belonging in chemistry courses and the chemistry major.  Welcoming, supporting, and relating to one another (students, faculty, and staff) with kindness and respect is central to the mission of the Chemistry Department and is critical in all our activities.

The Chemistry Department recognizes that:

  • Work on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) is continuous, and the ways in which we address these issues will need to evolve as circumstances change.
  • Working in a community of people with different experiences can be challenging; we all need to acknowledge the challenge and engage with it actively.
  • There are many ways to participate in the department, and different people will contribute in different ways.
  • It is important to empower students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented who may not have had equal access to opportunities within the field.
  • Student success requires access to resources (social, financial, academic, etc.).
  • We must work to ensure that student representation within the Chemistry Department matches the diversity of students at Carleton.
  • We must work to recruit a faculty whose diversity is representative of the country. 
  • Our actions will have unforeseen consequences (social, environmental, and others) and we have a responsibility to be aware of our legacy, to keep an open mind, and to remain self-critical.

We note that this is a living document and will be re-examined and changed as appropriate on a regular basis. 

Action Items

Below are tasks that were identified in conversations held when students, faculty, and staff collaboratively developed the DEIR Values Statement or in subsequent meetings. They do not represent the only work happening in the Chemistry Department. The actions items listed have been grouped by theme and are being or will be addressed by teams of faculty, students, and staff.  

** Indicates items where progress has been made, while those in bold have been identified as high priorities by students in a survey given in May 2022.  

Everyone is welcome and a sense of community is valued.

  • Onboarding documentation for visiting professors is being developed.**
  • Make trends in demographic data for students, professors, and staff in the chemistry major and courses accessible and transparent to the Carleton community.
  • Every term student representatives introduce themselves to students in 100- and 200- level classes and promote “how to connect”  and/or other welcoming information. In Spring 2022 a script was developed and follow up emails sent. These documents should be revised annually.**
  • Develop a process for being explicit in syllabi about the roles of SDAs and the Ring in welcoming feedback and questions regarding the department. Have the SDAs and the Ring deliver this message to intro classes when possible. 
  • Generate a working group to develop best-practices for forming problem solving groups in and out of class and ensure that faculty engage with this in each class.
  • Write a general statement to include in announcements for all events that are open to all (students regardless of major). Determine clear criteria for events that are more limited (e.g. comps planning meetings, etc.).
  • Department website and other materials are being revised to make sure gender inclusive language is being used**
  • Evaluate locations for community-building events. Hold Periodic table in 3rd floor AND (Activation Energy space)**.
  • Ensure that common spaces are welcoming.**
  • Bulletin boards with events, values, and other departmental information are periodically updated**.
  • Make shared copies of textbooks and resources available and accessible.

Students are supported as whole people.

  • Create/revise a uniform syllabus statement regarding support for all students (including resources described below).
  • Revise TA/grader/PSF contract regarding support for all students.
  • Describe resources clearly in the syllabi.
  • Develop a consolidated process to provide financial support to students who need it (for texts, etc.). Offer a link for inclusion in syllabi to resources. 
  • Include links to resources for mental and physical health on the department website.
  • Revise departmental statements about groupwork.
  • Emphasize sleep and self care in addition to studying.

Questions and feedback are valued.

  • A concern form is now available for members of the community to offer faculty and staff anonymous feedback. A mechanism was generated to direct the concerns to the appropriate person and to do our best to generate a response that denotes accountability and values learning.**

Multiple versions of success are valued.

  • Create an inventory of student schedules, noting the term in which required classes were taken, illustrating options to complete chemistry major **
  • Revise departmental award ceremony.
  • Update processes for selection of seminar speakers (e.g., student-invited/suggested speakers).
  • Create a “chemist of the week” poster for holistic representation of majors

Our actions as chemists have consequences.

  • Incorporate examples of real-life use and consequences of class materials.
  • Incorporate class material that deals with race when possible.
  • Share a repository of examples that is available on our web site.
  • Chem 371, Chemistry and Society: Impact and Legacy was taught in Fall 2022 for the 1st time to discuss this topic.**