We recognize that people from historically marginalized groups continue to be underrepresented in our department. Succeeding in our core mission requires understanding and addressing the collective failures within our department, university, and society to provide resources, policies, and a supportive environment that attract and promote the success of faculty, students, and staff from diverse backgrounds. There are many reasons for these shortcomings and not all are under our control, but they have had a profound and lasting negative impact.
The Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences aspires to empower a diverse community of people to thrive as humans, citizens, and scientists. We seek to expand opportunities for education, research, and employment in our field through embracing diverse perspectives, providing equitable resources, cultivating a sense of belonging, and holding ourselves accountable for sustaining positive change. Our success in this effort is the foundation for succeeding in our core academic mission to educate and create new knowledge.
Our APS DEI strategic plan aligns well with the CU campus Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) plan. This strategic plan follows the CU Boulder IDEA Plan Recommendation 34, to
“Require decentralized, localized, and tailored efforts to make excellence inclusive within respective departments and units: Each department or unit will create its own local IDEA plan that addresses issues revealed by surveys, takes advantage of available resources to foster inclusive pedagogy and working environments, and evaluates and enhances curricula and co-curricular activities to create inclusive learning environments.”
This APS DEI strategic plan is the successor to our APS Inclusive Excellence documents submitted in 2016 and updated in 2021 and 2022. With this plan we are implementing a mechanism to ensure our efforts “Are ongoing and deliberate, rather than ad hoc, following a pattern of problem definition, action, assessment, and revising if necessary.” [IDEA Plan Rec. 34]. We are eager to collaborate with, and contribute to, broader DEI actions on campus, and to leverage campus resources to help our actions at the department level to achieve our desired outcomes.
Implementation: Accountability and Sustainability
Creating an implementation plan, including tactics, metrics by which to measure success, persons responsible for the actions, and tracking status is critical to the success of any strategic plan. We will tabulate and track this information for our short-term actions above in an APS DEI Action Accountability Table.
For actions that require significant funding (more than ~$5,000), we will require increased accountability to assess effectiveness toward reaching our goals, starting with completing the APS DEI Action Plan Assessment Framework Guide.
To ensure continuity of actions, our APS Representation, Recruitment, and Retention Departmental Action Team (R3DAT) will regularly check in with persons responsible, and reassign responsibilities as needed (when members of our department leave, new energy is needed on a project, etc.) Where possible, responsibility will be assigned to a position, not a person.
We will need to periodically modify and try new actions and tactics to achieve our goals, based on what we learn as we progress. Going forward, we will review and update this strategic plan on an annual basis.
Finally, creating long-term change requires effort on the part of many members of our community. To harness our community resources and energy, we will empower all members of our community to participate in the process of creating and implementing actions, and have the flexibility to support actions that our community members are energized to take on.