The mission of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is to foster exploration and appreciation of the natural environment and human diversity through research, teaching, and community outreach. We provide academic training for graduate students in Museum and Field Studies; build, conserve, and interpret research collections; and offer exhibits and educational programs for the University and the public.

The Museum values scientific research and education, and recognizes that diverse voices and perspectives enrich and strengthen our work and community. We value and seek to increase diversity in our Museum & Field Studies Program and embrace a broad definition, including, but not limited to, race, color, ethnicity, language, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, physical and mental ability, and political affiliation.

In the Museum & Field Studies (MFS) Program, we strive to build an inclusive, equitable, and welcoming environment where all students, faculty and staff feel valued, have a voice, and are able to fully develop and realize their potential. We acknowledge the historical role played by museums in the colonization and disempowerment of indigenous and minority groups and wish to address past and present inequities. We denounce white supremacy, racial and social injustice, transphobia and homophobia, inequality, and the systems of power in our society that devalue Black lives. We believe it is the responsibility of all academic disciplines to address social inequities. We acknowledge that we need to do more to recognize, recruit, and advance a more diverse MFS community by removing barriers to historically excluded and currently underrepresented groups, as well as to sustain and support these students throughout their academic careers at CU.

Our commitments to building a more diverse program

  • We will enact mandatory training in unconscious bias for Museum faculty and staff.
  • We will waive the requirement for the GRE this upcoming recruitment cycle because research has shown that it is biased against many individuals, particularly women, students of color, non-traditional applicants, and students of lower socioeconomic status, and it is not a good predictor of academic success.
  • We will work with the Graduate School to waive the application fees of national and international graduate applicants who claim economic hardship. The MFS Program will reimburse the Graduate School the costs of the application fees for these applicants.
  • We commit to diversifying our course syllabi and inviting diverse museum professionals to our Museum and Field Studies classes and providing students with an opportunity to interact with them. The Museum & Field Studies Program will help support this initiative by offering honoraria to diverse museum professionals who visit MFS classes.
  • We will commit to developing remote/online Museum & Field Studies classes to help address physical and economic barriers that may preclude students from participating in-person in our MUSM courses.
  • The Museum will commit to increasing the Clark Endowment, which was established in 1973 to support Native American students in the Museum & Field Studies Program.
  • We will undertake recruitment trips to colleges with diverse student bodies.
  • The Museum will support faculty, staff, and graduate students to present about the Museum & Field Studies Program to diverse audiences. This may include attending one or more of the following conferences: ATALM (International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums), AAAM (Association of African American Museums), and SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science).
  • The Museum will commit to proactively reaching out to diverse organizations to recruit potential graduate students through the creation of marketing materials about the MFS Program.
  • We commit to continuing a discussion of diversity and inclusion among MFS students, faculty, and staff. This may include a reading group and/or a seminar series.