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The Burden of Diversity Engagement

July 2019

 

Nature: Ecology and Evolution has published a study showing that Underrepresented faculty play a disproportionate role in advancing diversity and inclusion. The study is based on a nation-wide survey in the US, but may well yield similar results in a European context.

As the authors write in their abstract, while a diverse and inclusive scientific community is known to be more productive, innovative and impactful,  nevertheless ecology and evolutionary biology continue to be dominated by white male faculty. The authors quantify faculty engagement in activities related to diversity and inclusion and identify factors that either facilitate or hinder participation. They show that faculty with underrepresented identities disproportionally engage in diversity and inclusion activities, while such engagement is not typically considered to be necessary for tenure.

Faculty perceived time and funding as significant limitations, which suggests that institutions should reallocate resources and reconsider how faculty are evaluated to promote shared responsibility in advancing diversity and inclusion.

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