Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Department of Entomology
We recognize that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are important, interdependent components of everyday life in the Department of Entomology and are critical to our pursuit of academic excellence. In recognition of this, the Department established a standing DEI committee devoted to DEI with representative including tenure stream faculty, fixed-term faculty, academic specialists, staff, research associates, and students in 2020. Current committee members include:
- Rufus Isaacs (he/him)
- Gabe Ording (he/him)
- Oscar Castaneda (he/him)
- Jackie Perkins (she/her)
- Wayne Jiang (he/him)
- Muhammad Usman (he/him)
- Erik Dams (he/him)
Selected Departmental DEI Initiatives
- Extending automatic faculty voting privileges to Academic Specialists and providing Post-doctoral Associates with a Voting Representative. Previously, Academic Specialists had to apply on an annual basis for voting privileges on Departmental matters and the post-doctoral associates had no representative vote. The DEI committee worked to update the by-laws of our department to grant automatic faculty voting privileges to our Academic Specialists and to provide the opportunity for the post-doctoral associates to have a voting representative on Departmental matters.
- Broader Representation in the Departmental Seminar Series. The Entomology Department Seminar Series includes at least one DEI-focused topic per semester. Past speakers have included: Dr. Anthony Jack, Luis Alonzo Garcia, and Dr. Raul Medina.
- Entomology Research and Outreach Fellowship (EROF) Program. The EROF program is a graduate student developed and led program which provides undergraduates with limited research opportunities, a fully funded, summer-long immersive research experience. Past participants have come from community colleges or non-science backgrounds. Many have continued to work in MSU Entomology Laboratories following their internship experience. The EROF program presents a novel opportunity to include students across Michigan from various socioeconomic backgrounds to engage with entomological research, generating a department that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. Funding for EROF Fellows is provided through the Tatter Fund for Diversity and Inclusion in Entomology.
- Removing the GRE as a requirement in graduate school applications to the Department. Recognizing the inherent bias that has been documented in standardized testing, the Department formally changed its policy about the GRE and the DEI Committee was able to work with the various plant fellowships offered at the university to remove that requirement from their applications as well.
- Addressed economic hardships for graduate students. The Entomology Department has implemented a proactive plan which increased graduate student stipends and reevaluates needs on a recurring basis every three years. We have also clarified mechanisms by student travel expenses are paid in instances where waiting for reimbursement may result in economic hardship.
- In response to national events in the spring of 2020, the Department composed a letter dated June 4 about our commitment to creating a safe and supportive environment.
For Advice and Assistance on DEI-related Concerns
- Within the Department of Entomology. Individuals are encouraged to reach out to members of our department community for support and guidance. These include:
- Department Chairperson, Hannah Burrack
- Members of the Department Advisory Committee
- Members of the DEI Committee
- Graduate Program Director, Anthony Cognato
- Undergraduate Advisor, Amanda Lorenz, our Undergraduate Advisor
- Department members can also share concerns or input anonymously using this form. Responses to this form are visible only to the department chairperson and graduate program assistant, Heather Lenartson-Kluge.
- At the College Level. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) who maintains an Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, open to all, providing advice and assistance.
- The Office of the University Ombudsperson. Whether one is a student, faculty, staff or administrator, the Office of the University Ombudsperson, offers a confidential place to discuss academic concerns, administrative issues, workplace issues, or any MSU-related concern. It also interprets and explains university policies and procedures. Here, one can speak freely because the Office of the University Ombudsperson offers a confidential, independent, impartial and informal resource about a complaint, conflict or concern. Members of the MSU community may contact the University Ombudsperson by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by phone (517-353-8830), or via the Problem/Concern Form.
- Reporting criminal or ethical concerns. This page contains links and information on where to report criminal or ethical concerns.
Important DEI-related Resources and Learning Opportunities
In the interest of self-improvement with regards to DEI, here we provide a short list of resources that we hope you will find useful.
- Important community resources from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
- Best practices regarding field safety for at-risk individuals.
- Ten simple rules for building an anti-racist lab.
- A guide to using gender pronouns from MSU's Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Resource Center.
Mental Health and Wellness
Recognizing that the academic environment can be an intense place to work, the DEI Committee believes it is important to offer information about the Mental Health and Wellness Resources available to our community at MSU.
- The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU faculty, staff, retirees, graduate student employees, and their families.
- Health4U health and wellness courses and coaching resources promotes healthy living and is open to all faculty, staff, graduate assistants and retirees.
- Online courses in mental health in support of students are offered as a resource for faculty.
- Additional mental health resources for MSU employees may be found here.
- Additional services for students may be found here.