Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan

The mission of the PSD is to discover and apply fundamental laws of nature and reason, foster an inclusive and creative intellectual environment, and shape the next generation of physical scientists and mathematicians.

We have developed this long-term strategic plan to reflect our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). This plan aligns with the University of Chicago’s framework and is organized around four foundational pillars: infrastructure, people, climate, and community. The strategic plan was developed by a committee of academics, staff, and students that worked to gather input from numerous stakeholders. 

Our objective was to create a plan for the PSD that enables us to continue to create a culture of belonging for all the members of our community and supports the diverse dimensions of its identity, experiences, and backgrounds.

This five-year plan builds on existing ongoing EDI efforts and initiatives in the PSD and is meant to capture our broad goals for accomplishing our mission. To ensure that our creative intellectual environment can continue to grow and thrive, we will work to increase the diversity of underrepresented groups and promote a climate that is welcoming, values differences, and enables each person to succeed regardless of their identity or background. In particular, we are focused on confronting racial and gender bias in STEM and working together to ensure all members of the Physical Sciences Division are able to fully participate in our community.

The plan below outlines a set of goals for the Division as a whole that are organized around each foundational pillar, as well as some tactics under each goal. We encourage departments,iInstitutes, and programs to use the framework to develop additional goals and tactics that are specific to the unique needs of the unit.   

We invite you to refer to the annual EDI progress report to keep abreast of our progress towards reaching our goals.

Just as the Physical Sciences Division invests in ensuring that our infrastructure continues to support our scientific and intellectual mission, we are also committed to ensuring that we have the right policies, procedures, and communication infrastructure to support and advance our equity, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Goal(s)

Continue to develop specific EDI plans for each unit 

  • Partner with departmental EDI committees to develop EDI Strategic Plans to meet their needs and interests

Recommend Division-wide best practices around mentorship

  • Work with chairs and departments to continue the practice of incorporating student feedback in the review process for faculty reappointment and promotion 

Recommend more uniform, transparent, and effective practices for admissions and onboarding

  • Encourage holistic admissions processes (i.e. rubrics, interviews, etc.)

The Physical Sciences attracts a diverse group of physical scientists and mathematicians and values diversity in the broadest sense—from diversity of identity to background and experience. As a Division, we strive to find ways to continue to broaden and diversify our faculty, students, postdocs, and staff, recognizing that diverse perspective contribute to the intellectual richness and distinctiveness of our community.

Goal(s)

Increase racial/ethnic/gender diversity of faculty, other academic appointees, students, and postdocs

  • Faculty and OAAs: Provide faculty search committees resources to engage in holistic faculty searches and onboarding of new faculty, including but not limited to rubric templates and search guidelines from the Provost’s office
  • Students: Solidify and build on relationships with identified minority-serving institutions with the aim of increasing the diversity of our applicant pool for all of our graduate programs
  • Postdocs: Identify/attend relevant conferences to actively connect with prospective postdoc recruits from diverse backgrounds 

Increase opportunities for staff professional development 

  • Continue to support comprehensive staff performance evaluations that ensure there is dialogue and an opportunity for staff members to identify professional development goals

We strive to foster a social and intellectual environment within the Physical Sciences Division that reflects our core values, which include creating a culture of respect and inclusion. It is vital that all members of the PSD feel a sense of belonging and can participate fully in the life of the University.

Goal(s)

Positively impact sense of inclusion and belonging for PSD constituents

  • For students: Expand opportunities to participate in EDI workshops and programs
  • For faculty and other academics: Identify and provide opportunities to develop mentorship skills, and increase participation in existing EDI workshops
  • For staff: Empower the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Staff Committee to build upon the success of its programs and events and expand opportunities to create community across departments/institutes
  • For postdocs: Expand opportunities to participate in programs and create community across departments/institutes   

Promote and expand opportunities to learn more about EEO programs, Title IX policies, and other resources

  • For students: Continue partnership with EOP office to provide education on Title IX and Bystander workshops 
  • For other PSD constituents: Continue promoting required EEO annual training

Provide education and advocacy for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies through partnership with Brave Space Alliance to provide workshops and education

  • Build a sustainable EDI educational curriculum
  • Publicize and encourage participation in existing PSD-led EDI workshops and University-wide EDI workshops 

Develop and implement a divisional climate survey to evaluate the climate of the Division and identify areas for improvement

  • Partner with a third party expert to engage with a broad group within the PSD to develop a climate survey that fits the unique needs of the PSD and can be deployed on a regular basis (every 3- 5 years)

As a part of the University of Chicago, our goal is to continue to build relationships with local and global partners to enable broader outreach and educational efforts to thrive. We aim to promote greater understanding and connectiveness between members of the PSD and the local Chicago community. 

Goal(s)

Connect members of the PSD to opportunities to support the South Side community and beyond

  • Partner with and leverage the knowledge and connections of the Office of Civic Engagement to come up with ways to improve dialogue between the PSD and the community
  • Support efforts from the Office of Civic Engagement to hire locally for open PSD staff positions
  • Plan and implement a "Day of Service" for the PSD