The Masters of the Environment Graduate Program is deeply committed to diversifying our student body, faculty, and staff, improving the equity of our systems and creating an inclusive culture in our program, on CU Boulder’s campus, and in the environmental sector at-large.
The MENV program envisions a more just and engaged world. We strive to support this vision not just by respecting diverse perspectives, but by integrating them into our program and valuing diversity as a critical success factor in both the classroom and in the workforce.
What does DEI mean to MENV?
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion can be defined in many different ways. While there are no “correct” definitions of these concepts, and they may change over time, the MENV Graduate Program currently defines these terms in the following ways:
Diversity is expressed in myriad forms, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, income, marital status, age, geographic location, national origin, political philosophy and veteran status.
MENV recognizes the limitations of defining diversity as a specific demographic mix and celebrates the nuanced elements of human differences. We also acknowledge that certain populations have been traditionally underrepresented in the environmental sector.
Promoting justice, impartiality, and fairness within the procedures, processes, access, and distribution of resources in the MENV Program and across CU Boulder’s campus.
The act of creating an environment where all individuals feel welcomed, respected, supported, and are able to fully participate in all conversations and activities.
What We Are Doing
The MENV program is currently evaluating our DEI strategies and commitments for the upcoming academic year to improve our recruitment practices, feedback systems, program culture, curriculum, pedagogy, and opportunities for employment and advancement among our students, staff, and faculty. We are also exploring how we can be effective allies to the BIPOC communities and increase the representation of those communities within the environmental sector as a whole. Below, please find an update on the actions we have undertaken so far, and what our plans are for the upcoming academic year.
MENV was one of the first programs on campus to create a dedicated diversity position. In the two years since the position was created, we have accomplished a number of actions, including (but not limited to):
- Redesigned our student admissions process to reduce bias and create more equity at every stage from recruitment to application through scholarship distribution
- Created a inclusive hiring protocol to be followed for all MENV staff and faculty hires, including requiring all members of hiring committees to complete CU Boulder’s Diversity Search and Hire Training Course
- Along with the ENVS Inclusive Excellence Committee, created an Inclusive Hiring Faculty Website for others across campus to access and utilize
- Offered a two-part “Examining Culture & Bias” workshop series for faculty and staff
- Offered student workshops on topics such as unconscious bias, inclusive communication, inclusive leadership, and strategies for challenging conversations
- Hosted community events and panel discussions on DEI in the Environmental Sector and Inclusive Recruitment for both graduate programs as well as cross-sector partner organizations.
- Started a DEI discussion and learning group open to all MENV students, faculty and staff
As we think towards the upcoming academic year, we plan to undertake the following activities:
- Offer two student DEI workshops per semester focused on taking anti-racist action and equipping students with the requisite skills and tools to effectively, efficiently, and thoughtfully make change within the environmental sector, including tools for effective allyship
- Provide at least one faculty and staff learning opportunity per semester to increase the inclusivity and equity of MENV’s culture and classrooms, including a focus on inclusive pedagogy
- Increase our recruitment efforts at undergraduate institutions and organizations with a high representation of BIPOC prospective students
- Expand scholarship opportunities for all applicants who demonstrate an interest in working with communities from diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds
- Transform our student DEI committee to be a student-led initiative to empower MENV students to take action across campus and out in the community towards antiracism and environmental and social justice
- Sharing the MENV DEI Strategic Plan with our community for feedback and aligning on a vision for the coming years
MENV recognizes that there is much work to be done in integrating principles of justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism across all aspects of our program. We welcome your feedback, participation in our efforts, and questions. Please email Michelle Cadena, Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs and Student Success, at Michelle.Cadena@colorado.edu to get more information.
The MENV program stands with undocumented students, faculty, and staff. You can find out more about resources for CU students, staff, and their families at www.colorado.edu/undocumented.