Academic Year 2019-20

Respect and Awareness

  • Celebrated graduate students, staff and faculty with awards for outstanding contributions to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in our college


  • Continued reporting of our efforts to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive community in our monthly CNS newsletters

  • Continued a distinguished faculty speaker series in collaboration with the College of Engineering to invite highly accomplished scientists and engineers from underrepresented groups to give a research talk open to the public, and a professional development seminar for graduate students and postdocs highlighting lessons learned from their own careers in science 

  • Supported the BRiDGE program — a graduate student–led seminar series featuring speakers from underrepresented communities in STEM to present research, share personal perspectives, and provide career advice

  • Hosted Besa Vormatu-Dzelumadzekpo, who spoke to students on ‘“The Peace Corps Experience: Living Cross-Culturally at Home and Abroad”

  • Incorporated reporting of our efforts to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive community into our monthly CNS newsletters

  • Initiated a distinguished faculty speaker series in collaboration with College of Engineering that invites highly accomplished scientists and engineers from underrepresented groups to campus to serve as role models to URM students in CNS and COE through the research and professional development seminars they offer during their visits

  • Promoted participation in a presentation by David Asai titled “Neither Right nor Left” on the issues of inclusion in STEM education hosted by the HHMI Inclusive Excellence Award

  • Developed and implemented exit surveys for faculty, staff and graduate students leaving the university


  • Completed statements of values and expectations for all CNS departments
  • Initiated the development of statements of values and expectations for all CNS departments and schools and posting of these statements on the unit websites
  • Developed and distributed a slide stating our commitment to inclusive excellence and providing resources for students to be used by instructors in the classroom
  • Incorporated diversity statements in all hiring and selection processes for faculty and staff where candidates are asked to describe their contributions and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their professional work


  • Hosted State of the College, College-day Picnic, and Budget Town Hall 
  • Offered first staff professional development retreat 
  • Provided logistical support for meetings of Black faculty and students 
  • Organized meetings of faculty of color to provide space for community, conversation and planning
  • Hosted and sponsored (with the HHMI Inclusive Excellence program and the Colleges of Engineering and Information and Computer Science) a Black in STEM panel of Black UMass faculty and postdocs, who shared stories of their career paths and advice for succeeding in STEM 
  • Hosted events throughout the college to build community within groups and express our appreciation for their contributions to our mission, 
  • Held welcome reception for all undergraduate students (early Fall and Spring semesters)
  • Spring CNS Ice Cream Social for undergraduate students, including pie-a-professor and a photo booth
  • Supported community building and professional development events for graduate and undergraduate members of OSTEM
  • Provided a new meeting space for the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) organization
  • Expanded our social media presence to engage the CNS and UMass community, including a ‘We are CNS’ social media campaign to highlight diversity among undergraduate students

Empowerment and a Sense of Agency

  • Facilitated the continuation and growth of approximately 10 mutual mentoring groups for women faculty and faculty of color; these groups include faculty at all ranks, cut across units, and are self-organized
  • Supported climate advisory committees, which continued to set goals and report on their progress in addressing both college-level and unit-level priorities
  • Organized and held function-based meetings, advisory committees and lunches with the dean to provide opportunities for each group in our community to share their ideas and connect beyond their own units
  • Promoted the regular use of annual performance reviews as coaching opportunities to advance both individual professional development and organizational effectiveness
  • Organized the Black Faculty Advisory Committee to the Dean
  • Held the second STEM Summer Bridge Program for students transferring from local community colleges, providing an opportunity to complete the required Junior Year Writing course and to participate in programming to ease their transition to UMass Amhers
  • Initiated meetings for staff in similar job functions in different departments and schools, established undergraduate, graduate/postdoc, and staff advisory committees, and organized lunches for staff, students, postdocs, and faculty with the dean to provide opportunities for each group to share their ideas and connect with each and with the CNS dean
  • Facilitated the expansion of the graduate student-led BRiDGE program across multiple departments/programs within CNS to increase the diversity of early career speakers on campus


  • Distributed $10,000 in support of unit-initiated activities to promote diversity, equity and inclusion locally

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Provided a diversity, equity, and inclusion charge for CNS search committees in fall 2019, in addition to a campus-wide STRIDE workshop for all search committee members
  • Provided PhD availability statistics for gender and race relevant to their research field to CNS faculty search committees 
  • Produced and distributed a "Tips for Inclusive Teaching" document for CNS faculty and advisors through the UMass HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative  
  • Included a diversity, equity, and inclusion component into the search charge meeting for all faculty search committees in CNS in fall 2018 as a complement to a campus-wide STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) workshop on faculty recruitment

Interpersonal Skills

  • Organized and facilitated dialogues within two units in the college to advance climate goals

Learning Communities

  • Hosted CNS book groups through the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion
  • Facilitated conversations by graduate program on climate issues
  • Developed and launched a TA workload survey (in progress)
  • Sponsored antiracism training with 250 faculty, staff and students who participated in screening and discussion groups of “White Like Me” 

We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments and the engagement of all groups in our college in advancing the campus-wide priority of Building a Community of Dignity and Respect.To support our ongoing work, we encourage you to take inspiration from our clear statements of values and expectations:

and to take advantage of the excellent resources that have been compiled by the Office of Equity and Inclusion to bring them to life:

The best outcomes for our community can only emerge by giving voice to all perspectives. We look forward to and sincerely thank you for your engagement over the coming year in ensuring the continued success of all faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral researchers in CNS. The CNS Climate Advisory Committees have begun their work for this academic year and would benefit from broad engagement in the departments, schools and programs. In addition, ongoing initiatives, events and progress towards our goal of advancing the workplace and learning climate can be found on the CNS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website. We encourage you to be a part of these discussions and participate in moving ideas forward. Together, we do make a difference.