Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Drawing from the upcoming 2019 UMCES Strategic plan:

CBL values and is committed to developing a dynamic, diverse and inclusive working environment where aspirations and dreams are achieved. CBL seeks to develop and train a workforce of marine and environmental science professionals that reflects the face of the communities most impacted by their environments.

The racial/ethnic composition of faculty and students at academic institutions nationwide and at CBL do not mirror national demographics. Continued, disproportionately low representation of underrepresented groups at CBL will limit our ability to sustain and enhance research and innovation capacity. Throughout this document, we consider diversity to include considerations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and socioeconomic opportunity.

If we are to achieve our vision of a dynamic, diverse and inclusive workforce, we must (1) identify our current institutional climate and associated barriers to increasing diversity, (2) work internally to cultivate an inclusive and supportive academic and work environment that promotes, includes, respects, and supports diverse voices (3) remove barriers to diversity by implementing best practices for the recruitment of faculty, staff and students, and (4) work externally to promote and train a diverse STEM workforce for the future.

We address each step here:

(1) CBL Campus Climate Survey

We cannot hope to recruit or retain faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds if we do not create, maintain and support an environment that welcomes, values, and respects people from all backgrounds. Today, we do not know the extent to which we achieve or miss this goal. Accordingly, a critical first step is to conduct a campus climate survey. This survey will be specific to CBL but will be compatible with and augment the planned UMCES wide evaluation.

The CBL campus climate will represent an honest, systematic and anonymous assessment of the current climate and barriers to diversity at the laboratory. Analysis and consideration of the results of the survey will allow CBL to establish milestones to achieve moving forward.

The results of the climate survey will be shared to the fullest extent possible. This will include a clear and visible diversity statement on our website and details of the plans and commitments made to reach the milestones.

(2) Cultivate an inclusive and supportive academic and work environment at CBL

The CBL Campus Climate Survey will be the first step in identifying barriers to the diverse and inclusive community we seek. The survey will lead to discussions within the CBL community to identify actions and milestones of progress that we can achieve moving forward.

However, we know already that there are actions we can take that will move us forward. These actions include:

a. Study and implement recruiting practices that acknowledge and ameliorate the effects of implicit bias in recruitment efforts. These efforts begin as soon as the recruitment efforts begin and affect all phases of the personnel search. These efforts must be extended to include administrative, facilities and academic positions. Best practices will be used for all hires.

b. Ensure equitable opportunities for professional advancement for all staff. These efforts will include promoting training opportunities for administrative, facilities and academic positions to the extent possible within our budget. These efforts will also include that service requests will also be equitably balanced among all staff.

c. CBL is a small institution and will always lack the resources of larger institutions. Accordingly, CBL should leverage our position as a part of the USM to avail ourselves of expertise in other institutions to help mentor, advise and train our staff.

(3) Collaborate with external partners to promote and train a diverse STEM workforce for the future

We believe there is both a moral and economic imperative to promote a diverse STEM workforce. CBL will work toward this goal by:

a. Develop and implement an internship program with the College of Southern Maryland to encourage underrepresented students to explore a STEM career by offering meaningful, paid internships at CBL. This will require effort by CBL and CSM faculty to identify, recruit and sponsor potential candidates for this program. It will require providing on going formal, and informal mentorship of interns in the program by all CBL faculty, staff and students. Finally, it will require us to promote “graduates” of our internship program to colleagues within USM and beyond to identify potential job / training opportunities.

b. Identify and obtain funding from regional and national foundations and corporations to support this program. Although CBL is committed to the CSM Internship program, we cannot sustain such a program long term on our own finances. We have had initial success in promoting such a program (e.g., Loughgren Foundation, L’Oreal Foundation, and local philanthropists). However, we must embark on an active effort to increase the support of the internship program so that it can support a coordinator (potentially a graduate student or FRA), and sufficient funding to support intern stipends, travel for meetings and publications.

c. Develop and Implement a Faculty-In-Residence Program that will appoint faculty from traditionally underrepresented groups, either from HBCUs or from other institutions with diverse student populations, to a Visiting Professor position at CBL. The goal of the program would be to develop research collaborations and a pathway to identify underrepresented students who could collaborate with or be recruited to graduate school by CBL faculty. At the end of the fellowship, Faculty-In-Residence fellows would be considered for adjunct faculty status at CBL. If the visiting faculty member’s institution allows, the fellows’ sabbatical replacement teaching load could potentially be covered by CBL PhD students, or CBL faculty.