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Everyone in our community has a role to play in making the College of Natural Sciences a welcoming and inclusive place for students, faculty and staff. Each month offers timely opportunities for action, and members of the DEI committee offered ideas to support this goal. We would love to hear from you with additions for this resource and actions page.

We challenge our community members to review the list and commit to actions you can take to help make CNS a more welcoming and inclusive place for all. 

Engage Any time

Reflect, Read, listen & Educate

  • Talk intentionally and explicitly about how to help create a safe space for your group to have conversations about experiences they may be having with racism, xenophobia, and exclusion in this time.

  • Delve into these readings and resources:
    1. Check out a book from the UT Multicultural Engagement Center (MEC) lending library
    2. Mine these reading lists posted to MediumGoodreadsJohns HopkinsUC DavisShe Geeks Out, and the American Library Association to find your next great read.
    3. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
    4. The Inequality Machine by Paul Tough




  • Host a department discussion brainstorming effective mentoring strategies and challenges
  • Mentor a new faculty member, with a focus on inclusion (for example, ask to set up a time to get coffee and answer any questions they have)
  • Mentor a new tenure-track faculty member, with a focus on inclusion
  • Mentor a new staff member, with a focus on inclusion
  • Mentor an underrepresented student (for research, you can recruit students through Eureka; in other circumstances, you can mentor by asking a student what their career goals or current academic challenges are and then provide related resources).
  • Mentor a summer student in research who might come from a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) or Historically Black College and University (HBCU) (for example: https://icmb.utexas.edu/about/summer-undergraduate-research)

OCTOBER: Understanding the problem

  • Plan to complete the values affirmation exercise the first class period of next semester. Here’s an example handout you could use. 
  • Listen to a discussion with three current and former leaders in UT science and engineering about tackling STEM's diversity problem (Audio). 
  • Organize time to listen to the concerns of more junior members of your department broadly (junior faculty, staff, postdocs, grad students, undergrads) and support the development of their leadership in areas they are expert in that you, if you are a more senior member, can learn from.
  • Gather students or colleagues and take UT's Racial Geography Tour.
  • Suggested reading: "Sexism in the Academy" by N+1 Magazine.

NOVEMBER: Getting to know our community

DECEMBER: Teaching and traininG

  • Add one or more explicit learning objectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to your syllabi
  • Add one or more readings from a diverse scholar to your syllabi
  • Add one or more assignments focused on DEI to your class(es)
  • Add a First Generation link to your Canvas page 
  • Make your teaching more inclusive with a few tips from this guide in The Chronicle of Higher Education


  • Get up to speed on SB 212, a Title IX law all university employees need to be aware of.
  • Invite one or more diverse scholars, community advocates, or community practitioners to guest lecture in my class(es) or participate in a seminar
  • Highlight the work of people of color and women to my class material whenever possible
  • Make sure your department is a place that students of color, women, students with a range of abilities, etc. would feel welcome *before* trying hard to recruit from under-represented groups
  • Help recruit students from underrepresented groups to a  class, major, or graduate program 
  • Give a talk at a local, minority-serving institutions (e.g., Huston-Tillotson)
  • Visit Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) around the state/country to recruit summer students, post-BAC research students, or graduate students and identify specific individuals to follow-up with (and follow-up over the coming months)
  • Call up administrators in your respective departments at minority-serving institutions to advertise research opportunities including your graduate program to their undergraduate students (i.e. request that they send out an email to their students)
  • Do research on behalf of your department to understand the most effective strategies for recruiting under-represented students in the culture of your sub-field
  • Advertise your degree program / department’s opportunities on social media (twitter, instagram, facebook, etc), in particular making sure you engage with the community of students you aim to reach
  • Locate and designate financial resources which can be used for recruitment of diverse students
  • Attend a professional meeting aimed at under-represented populations to recruit students, postdocs and faculty (e.g. ABRCMS, SACNAS, NSBP, etc)
  • If your field has a committee for the status of ____ (where the blank can be any marginalized group), be sure to reach out to the organizers of that group to engage in a conversation of how to reach their audience with professional opportunities.
  • Nominate a student for an Aspire Award
  • Nominate a student for the CNS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Distinction

FEBRUARY: Inclusivity

  • Participate in or create a reading group focused on diversity and inclusion topics.
  • Do you teach? Critically evaluate your syllabi for explicit learning objectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); number of readings from diverse scholars; number of assignments focused on DEI; number of classroom activities focused on DEI.
  • Learn about making your classroom a more inclusive environment
  • Ensure the use of preferred pronouns with students and colleagues
  • Learn about how to join in celebrating CNS students of color this spring (e.g., at the ASPIRE Banquet, Pass the Baton celebration)
  • Sponsor an event for CNS students of color
  • Provide infrastructure support to groups led by students of color
  • Plan to attend Lavender, Black, or Latinx UT Graduation
  • Address or report incidences of bias and discrimination observed in CNS
  • Advocate on behalf of students who may need assistance in interfacing with OIE, Title IX office, etc. 

MARCH: Wellness and self-care

  • Talk intentionally and explicitly about diversity and inclusion in your class(es)
  • Find a peer mentor or accountability mentor to discuss issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
  • Share inclusive teaching and mentorship practices with others
  • Advocate for and/or create a DEI-focused long-term plan for your department, unit, team or group

APRIL: Transitions and empathy

MAY: Tough conversations & cultural competence

  • Discuss equity issues with your mentees while demonstrating professional, inclusive behavior.
  • Directly support the more marginalized, junior members of faculty in the initiatives they want to lead and design.
  • Build space in the department such that more marginalized junior members feel they can speak openly to themselves or others about issues related to DEI (i.e. this can mean starting a “listening”-focused discussion group).
  • Advocate for clear selection criteria and rubrics in hiring and admissions committees.
  • Read "Juneteenth is a Reminder That Freedom Wasn’t Just Handed Over," listen to "The History and Meaning of Juneteenth" or view this overview of Juneteenth.


Go deeper in the Summer Months

Our friends in the Department of Psychology compiled a list of many readings and offerings, and you can also peruse this antiracist reading list: