The Department of Geography is committed to building and sustaining inclusive, equitable, safe, and just learning and working environments that embrace the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and interests represented in our communities and the broader world. We value diversity, equity, inclusion, interdisciplinarity, transparency, shared decision-making, and accessibility as integral components of excellence in teaching, scholarship, service, and outreach.
We recognize that we live in a world of systemic inequities, oppressions, exclusions, and violence encoded in the structures, policies, practices, traditions, and procedures of our discipline and our academic institutions. The legacies of settler colonialism, slavery, and land dispossession are reflected in the society in which we study, teach, learn, research, and create. The Department seeks to promote open, critical dialogues and practices aimed at dismantling past and present injustices and addressing social and environmental challenges. As geographers, we support anti-racist, culturally-responsive, inclusive, and accessible pedagogies and research practices that seek to understand and challenge inequities and oppression in their multiple manifestations in and out of the classroom, in online learning spaces, in our research environments, in our fieldwork, on campus, in our professional organizations, and in our broader communities. We believe that this work can support transformative justice within and beyond the academy.
We recognize that our community, scholarship, teaching, and public work are stronger through the participation of individuals with different perspectives and backgrounds who can offer creative problem-solving strategies. We seek to improve inclusion, transparency, and shared decision-making within our community and to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all students, scholars, and staff in which to thrive. We commit to cultivating a working and learning environment that does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or exploitation.
We recognize that now is a time in which the rights and safety of minoritized and marginalized people are increasingly threatened across the US and in higher education, and a time in which there are rapidly increasing efforts to silence voices calling attention to historical and current inequities, oppressions, and exclusions. Among these are attacks on the rights and safety of trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people, continued violence against Indigenous, Black, Asian, Latinx and other people of color, and attacks on educational programs that address systemic racism and past struggles against it. In response, the Department affirms that trans lives matter, that we celebrate all identities, that transphobia is harmful, and that full community and belonging can only be attained through trans-inclusive positions, policies, and practices. We affirm the rights of ALL members of our community to teach, learn, and freely discuss the history and present nature of racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination. We are in solidarity with students and colleagues who are directly facing threats to these rights.
The Department of Geography commits to advancing these values in several ways including and not limited to:
● Establishing and maintaining an ongoing process in which the departmental governance structure as a whole is engaged in identifying and addressing issues of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and workplace climate, coordinated by a standing DEI and Climate Committee;
● Meaningfully expanding the inclusion of minoritized and marginalized groups in the Department, the discipline and profession of geography, and in academia through active improvement in recruitment, retention, and advancement efforts;
● Increasing the representation and participation of different groups in Department activities, including governance, through reassessment and revision of policies and practices;
● Offering courses that engage centrally with diverse cultures and values and equity concerns;
● Producing research that addresses issues of social and environmental justice in a diverse range of communities located domestically and internationally;
● Advancing ethical practices in publicly engaged scholarship, education, outreach, and research;
● Integrating values of diversity, equity, inclusion, transparency, shared decision-making and accessibility into the Department's practices that support ethically-informed teaching, research, service, leadership, and outreach;
● Reevaluating departmental needs through regular surveys of its community, policies, and practices.