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Diversity Plan

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is dedicated to enhancing diversity*.  We strive to include students, faculty and staff from different populations, cultures and circumstances who bring a wide range of personal experiences, viewpoints and values that enrich the collective environment in EEB and build mutual respect.  Because diversity is central to our academic mission, we actively strive to remove recruitment barriers, provide a welcoming and accessible environment to all students, foster diverse and open intellectual experiences and learning atmospheres, develop students’ talents and creativity, instill knowledge and train cognizant future leaders,

To help achieve this, the department worked craft a diversity plan, which was passed unanimously by the faculty.  To view the table as a pdf, click here.

Goal: Create and sustain a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive departmental climate in EEB.
Objectives Strategy / Tactics Responsible Party Benchmarks Status/Success Metrics
Develop an inclusive environment that is comfortable for all department members. This will also help with retention. Develop an ad hoc Diversity Committee of staff, graduate students, post docs, lecturers, faculty, and undergraduate students that meets at least twice per semester to coordinate and facilitate development towards diversity goals Department Head Creation of committee by end of Spring 2018
Conversion of ad hoc Diversity Committee to permanent committee established by department bylaws Core faculty Amendment to bylaws in Spring 2018
Development of diversity statement Core faculty Approval of statement, placement on dept. website Draft statement distributed to faculty for review
Assessment of progress towards making diversity through an annual sentiment survey to all dept. members (undergrad and grad students, staff, lecturers, postdocs, faculty) Diversity Committee Annual survey. Results communicated to entire department, with emphasis on items requiring changes
Recording, to the extent possible by HR policies, diversity measures for staff, faculty, undergrad and grad students, and postdocs Diversity advocate on each major committee for undergrads and grads; head for postdocs, faculty, and staff
Make members aware of ways to report issues ( Diversity Committee Addition of bias reporting information to dept web page, grad handbook, faculty handbook
Exit interviews with faculty, graduate students, and postdocs upon leaving the department For faculty, Dept. Head. For others, a representative of the diversity committee
EEB Women in Science group; encourage participation in University (e.g. Pipeline: STEM Women in Science) and national-level groups (e.g. SACNAS) Faculty maintainers Active group for two years
Relevant seminars (Haines-Morris, etc.) Faculty A seminar series every few years focusing on the science done by members of an underrepresented group Haines-Morris on women in science in phylogenetics (2009-2010), women in science in climate change (2016-2017)
Department seminars Seminar committee Strive for a set of speakers that reflects the diversity in the wider community.
Develop physical space that demonstrates a committment to diversity Promoting universal access, especially in new construction and renovations Department Head
Lactation room for new mothers Department Head Creation of room by Fall 2018
Work to recruit diverse undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty STRIDE training for ALL members of search committees Department Head Five of last seven faculty hires are women.
STRIDE training for all core faculty, retrained at least every five years Department Head Three years for full compliance
STRIDE training for ALL members of graduate admissions committee Head of grad admissions committee
Identification and amelioration of barriers to recruiting diverse students Graduate admissions committee; diversity committee Annual report of changes and their rationale to faculty Formalization of GRE requirement waiver, which was an issue for some international applicants
Energetic usage of College and University programs targeted at recruiting diverse faculty (future faculty program, diversity hiring program, etc.) Core faculty Regularly advance proposals to college for Target of Opportunity Hires; nominations to Future Faculty Program 2016-17 faculty offer using the College’s Target of Opportunity Program was accepted; Future Faculty nominee from EEB attended 2016 event (found it very useful and interesting)
Promotion and participation in special opportunities (PEER program, J. Wallace & Katie Dean Graduate Fellowships,
Lori Mayer Women’s Graduate Fellowship, Access and Diversity Graduate Fellowship
etc. – Faculty mentors, discourse participants)
Graduate admissions committee Three EEB faculty are PEER mentors and/or program participants (Kalisz, Schweitzer, Simberloff)

*including race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, marital status, geographic region, and more.