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Diversity Statement

Diversity and Climate
The faculty, students, and staff of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology study the nature, creation, maintenance, functioning, and loss of the diversity of life around the planet and through time, as well as how this is communicated and taught, both to understand our world and to have applied benefits. We are at our best in doing this when everyone is welcome and supported as an important part of our community, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, sex, disability status, family structure, national origin, race, sexual or romantic orientation, religion and spirituality, political affiliation, socioeconomic background, veteran status, and all the other axes of diversity in our human community. We recognize that there can be significant structural and cultural barriers to true equity and inclusion in our community, but we are committed to identifying and removing these factors as we can. 

Our Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is committed to advancing and maintaining a collegial academic environment based on equity and fairness. Therefore, it is our goal to: 

  • Create and sustain a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive departmental climate for all individuals. 
  • Identify and address institutionally biased practices that impede equity and inclusion.
  • Increase the numbers of individuals from under-represented populations by attracting, hiring and retaining more diverse faculty, staff, and administrative professionals.
  • Attract, retain, and graduate increasing numbers of students from under-represented populations.
  • Advocate for and foster a supportive environment for international populations within student, faculty, staff, and administrative positions. 
  • Ensure that the teaching and learning experience is inclusive, providing a classroom climate and policies that support the success of all students, and reflects the Department’s commitment to diversity and social justice. 
  • Develop and strengthen departmental partnerships with diverse communities on local, state, national, and international levels.

Learn more about the University of Tennessee’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity:

Part of creating a healthy environment is having ways to effectively handle problems when they arise:

The UTK ombudsperson is a confidential resource to discuss issues and reporting options:

The University of Tennessee offers a range of services for student and employee assistance:

Emergency Contacts for Immediate Help: