1. Definition of inclusive excellence in behavior genetics:
The Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) defines inclusive excellence as the pursuit of academic and scientific excellence informed by deliberate and evolving practices of inclusivity, equity, collaboration, communication, and integrity. IBG strives to embody inclusive excellence at all levels of research, teaching, training, and service in the following ways:
Fostering an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive climate for faculty, staff, and trainees with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Prioritizing high-quality, comprehensive training that encompasses not only innovative science but also ethical practices to maximize the success of all students.
Modeling effective communication that demonstrates willingness of faculty to listen and respect the perspectives of graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and staff.
Recognizing that IBG has a unique responsibility to uphold high standards of integrity and accountability due to the documented misuse of behavioral genetics research to justify racist and ableist policies and atrocities throughout history.
Understanding that creating an inclusive, collaborative, and welcoming environment is a constant work in progress and aiming to incorporate feedback and improve continuously.
IBG asserts that the cultivation of a climate of inclusive excellence requires active engagement with all diversity in our community, including cultural differences, race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability status, creed, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, class, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or political affiliation. IBG recognizes that there is no excellence without inclusivity, and prioritizing inclusivity and equity leads to stronger and more innovative training and research.
2. IBG commits to advancing inclusivity as a global leader in the field of behavior genetics:
Historically, behavioral and psychiatric genetics research has been misused to support racist and ableist policies and atrocities, such as the eugenics movements of the United States and Europe in the 20th century. IBG acknowledges this history and condemns the misuse of behavioral and psychiatric genetics research to justify any past and/or ongoing racist and ableist views and practices. Please see our broader diversity statement.
Since 1967, IBG has been at the forefront of genetic research on behavior. As leaders in behavioral, psychiatric, and statistical genetics, we have a heightened responsibility to uphold the highest degree of inclusive excellence. We understand that our efforts to practice inclusive excellence have the potential to set standards for our field in the following ways:
By encouraging science communication and media outreach from our trainees and faculty, we aim to mitigate potential misinterpretations of our research and encourage other researchers to do the same.
Prioritizing the welfare of research participants.
Formalizing continued education about the ethical issues related to the field of behavior genetics through specialized training through courses, journal clubs, and workshops within our scientific community.
Providing financial support to attend the International Statistical Genetics Workshop, hosted annually at IBG, and developing educational content in hybrid modalities to ensure maximum accessibility to students and researchers worldwide.
3. IBG’s current efforts toward improving inclusive excellence:
IBG currently has 88 Employees (TTT Faculty 10, Res Prof 2, RA’s 10, PRA’s 23, Postdocs 8, Grad Students 23, Staff 4, hourly 8). The 2019 ARPAC report highlighted the fact that although IBG as a whole includes some diversity by sex and underrepresented minorities, we have struggled to increase diversity at the faculty rank. We are actively pursuing three main strategies to recruit diverse faculty alongside ongoing activities to promote a more inclusive environment.
Work with existing University-level efforts to recruit and support diverse faculty:
- Partner with ODECE to learn strategies for attracting a diverse applicant pool
- Participate in training to ensure a welcoming environment during the interview process for top candidates, such as CU’s Antiracism Course and Implicit Bias training during journal club.
Build and expand on our existing positive climate that fosters relationships and collaboration:
- Implement regular social events that bring all of IBG together. We currently hold an annual 2-day IBG mini-conference where student and postdoc trainees present their research projects, and includes an outside plenary speaker. We also hold an annual fall kickoff (poster session and BBQ) event. These provide opportunities for social interaction during breaks and lunches. We are working to establish other social events that will foster community and inclusion.
- Provide career-development opportunities and workshops for all levels, such as one-day courses on topics such as manuscript preparation, grant writing, presenting a scientific talk, preparing a CV/Biosketch.
Incorporate inclusive practices within our teaching and training:
- We commit to selecting papers relevant to ethical issues in genetics at journal club meetings at least monthly and to recruiting first Friday speakers with diverse perspectives
- Establish connections with local schools and smaller colleges
- Encourage and support the active participation of undergraduates in research projects
4. Recommendations to the University to improve structures and systems:
- At the University level, campus leadership should develop programs to support recruitment of diverse faculty. Campus should commit more resources to strategic hiring through the FDAP.
- There is a great need for an office that would support career opportunities for spouses of faculty candidates. This may include identifying other tenure-track positions on campus or at nearby institutions, identifying other employment opportunities on campus, or partnering with local companies.
- Most future scientists are introduced to research through an undergraduate experience.
- Research institutes are successful because of their ability to secure extramural funding to conduct cutting-edge and impactful research, butthere is little incentive for the inclusion of undergraduates in our research projects, beyond the commitment of individual faculty to provide those opportunities.
- The Research and Innovation Office should identify mechanisms to support the inclusion of undergraduates.
Education and Training:
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement should continue to provide ongoing opportunities for education and training, and resources to facilitate implementation of our above goals for all members of the community, including faculty, staff, researchers, graduate students and undergraduates.