Dean Goldbart sent a message to all faculty, staff and students in the College of Natural Sciences about how the college, with guidance from a community-led Action Team, is moving forward to improve inclusion and equity in Texas Science, including for members of our community who are Black, indigenous or people of color.

This year, as communities around the world turned their focus toward finding meaningfully ways to help address historical racial injustices, the College of Natural Sciences, too, has committed to advancing equity and inclusion on the UT Austin campus. Over the summer, the college invited input from faculty, staff and students about strategies our community sees as central for our work to address longstanding disparities and move forward together. To synthesize these ideas and prioritize concerns, an Action Team of 15 members of our faculty, staff and students, primarily but not exclusively representing communities of color, informed and guided the development of a set of college-wide recommended next steps.

The steps recommended by the Action Team are centered around three core themes: recruitment, college climate, and institutional accountability. I regard the work of the Action Team as having powerfully crystalized actionable strategies for the College. Accordingly, their recommendations have been incorporated into the college-wide Strategic Framework, which articulates our focus for the foreseeable future. This web page summarizes our commitments that stemmed from your input and the resulting recommendations from the Action Team. 

What are we working on now?

While the team guided our prioritization process, improving equity and promoting belonging is a shared responsibility, spanning well beyond the charge of any single individual, task force, or unit. College leadership is committed to making substantial strides, in partnership with you and alongside complementary efforts underway, to advance equity and inclusion in our departments and units as well as university-wide. The dean's office will provide updates each long semester on our progress on these college initiatives, with transparency about challenges we encounter and clarity about newly emerging goals or initiatives as this work evolves.

Allow me to conclude with a word about your role in our progress. How warm and welcoming our College of Natural Sciences is for everyone will be determined greatly by our individual interactions and the commitments we hold to one another. When earlier this year, academic and scientific communities #ShutDownSTEM for a day of reflection, it was an encouraging start. However, understanding the experiences, histories and perspectives of individuals in too-long marginalized communities—and responding to one another with attention to what we have learned—is, of course, the work not of one day but rather of a lifetime. I welcome working with each and every one of you in what will be an ongoing and shared process of education, discovery and thoughtful engagement together.