Message from the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

I am proud to serve as the associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). My office will act as a guide and resource for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the school.

SEBS and our executive dean, Dr. Laura Lawson, are fully engaged with Rutgers University's Diversity Strategic Plan. As such, the aims of the associate dean are to create, support, and gauge our performance towards diversity, equity, and inclusion for all faculty, staff, and students. We will do so by recruiting and retaining a diverse community of faculty, staff and students; supporting an inclusive community wherein every member has a full sense of belonging and dignity; and by reducing barriers and instilling equitable principles to educational and career success.

To build a sense of belonging and dignity, we will create a space and a community where all are welcome and can develop and thrive and build dignified relationships with faculty, staff, and administrators across campus and our local community.

During my tenure, I will access the school's academic and research assets and transparently build relationships across the campus and Rutgers to sustain the principles and goals of our Diversity Action Plan. This will include open communication with our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners.

I commit myself to this mission to achieve true diversity, equity, and inclusion and a sense of belonging and dignity within each individual. I approach this work from a place of humility and learning and with an understanding of the influence of intersectional identities in this work*. While my marginalized identities have instilled a sense of compassion and empathy towards others, these identities do not negate my privileged identities and I am not absolved of any harm I may cause others. I will listen, learn, and grow along with the everyone else at SEBS.

We define Diversity as the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, age, religion, language, disability status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic region, and more.

We define Equity as the active work to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented full participation across differences in culture and circumstance, specifically redressing the exclusion of underrepresented groups in higher education. Attention to equity involves ensuring access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, staff, and faculty in every stage of education and career development.

We define Inclusion as the act of creating environments in which individual and groups feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued by eliminating practices and behaviors that marginalize. An inclusive climate, embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions so that all people can fully participate in the university's opportunities.

To these definitions, we also add:

We define Justice is the repairing and restoring of individuals and communities so that all individuals and communities can live a dignified life.

*Intersectionality is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender [in addition, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, language, ability status, sexual orientation, etc.] status as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. Source: Kimberlé Crenshaw's "On Intersectionality: Essential Writings".