Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

CANR DEI badge_Platinum .jpg

At Michigan State University, we believe our differences are assets. We foster a community that respects and values a broad range of backgrounds, viewpoints and experiences and encourages and creates opportunities so all Spartans can reach their full potential educationally and professionally. In the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, we are committed to building a safe, supportive, and welcoming community where we have a shared responsibility for our words and actions, as well as how they affect others and the collective climate in the department.

Definitions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion according to MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Bylaws:

Diversity - the ways in which people differ (in their totality); encompasses the range of different characteristics that make one individual, or one group vary from another. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender, but many other characteristics that may include age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, status, language, and physical appearance.

Equity - the fair and unbiased treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while promoting justice through identifying and eliminating barriers that have and continue to prevent the full participation of all people.

Inclusion - ensuring all individuals and/or groups participate in all processes, activities, and decision/policymaking in a way that fosters a culture of belonging, collaborative practice, and mutual respect.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (FW) established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Standing Committee in 2017 to foster DEI principles in all departmental activities including, but not limited to, teaching, research, and outreach and engagement. Among its activities, the DEI Committee is tasked with drafting and updating the department’s strategic and implementation plans pertaining to DEI principles and initiatives, including setting aspirational goals, defining annual targets and outcomes, and proposing measures of success (see the Evolve component of FW’s strategic plan).  The DEI Committee additionally arranges workshops and training for FW faculty, staff, and students to promote awareness and understanding of how people of different backgrounds, cultures, ages, races, genders, sexuality, religions, physical conditions, and beliefs can engage and work collaboratively to meet the department’s mission.  

Examples of recent DEI Initiatives across FW include:

  • Developing FW Community Norms describing expected behaviors and modes of work for all personnel and collaborators
  • Developing recruitment materials for underrepresented groups in STEM (including Native Americans)
  • Establishing minimum stipend levels for FW graduate students and providing funding for those stipends to be attained
  • Organizing workshop trainings for staff and student participation, including:
    • Life after grad school: career trajectories in a diverse workplace
    • Responding effectively to harassment in the field (offered annually)
    • Managing and mitigating biases: everyone has a story
    • Dealing with micro-aggressions
    • Bystander intervention
    • Harassment prevention 
  • Conducting a climate and relationship survey to assess the FW’s diversity and workplace climate, inclusiveness, quality of relationships, and civility toward one another. 
  • Creating and displaying a poster stating FW’s commitment to DEI principles in FW’s main building location
  • Presenting brief DEI learning moments at monthly department meetings 
  • Including questions about equity, inclusion, and justice in graduate student exit interviews

FW has been consistently awarded gold badges from the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for “moving beyond foundational work and established a baseline culture of DEI principles with the department”.  Additionally, faculty and staff including Dr. Gary Roloff and Jill Cruth, have received You Belong Here awards from CANR for their “outstanding efforts to bring a sense of inclusion to the classroom and beyond”.