YIBS is a cross-disciplinary organization with a mission to enable research, training, and collaboration in the environmental sciences at Yale. The work that we do depends on participation by diverse voices and perspectives, which in turn positively impacts the quality of work and public engagement with the environmental sciences. We recognize that our disciplines have not welcomed diverse voices in the past and that scientists from historically excluded backgrounds continue to experience systemic barriers to participation.
We are committed to improving participation by scientists and colleagues from diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to diverse races, genders, and identities. We aim to improve participation and equity by combatting marginalization, explicit and implicit biases, as well as systemic barriers to inclusion. This commitment extends to all YIBS activities, including funding opportunities and events.
Open and collegial communication is key to maintaining diverse communities and to cross-disciplinary science alike. Fostering communication depends on creating a safe and inclusive environment that recognizes that power hierarchies exist and can impact people from historically excluded backgrounds differently. All YIBS affiliates, postdocs, students, and staff are responsible for creating a respectful and collegial institutional climate and have the right to expect the respect of their colleagues in return. These responsibilities extend beyond the Yale campus to the field, where we expect our community to respectfully engage in collaboration with local colleagues.
This message represents a statement of our vision for YIBS and for our science, but it also represents a set of guiding principles for ongoing action. For example:
- YIBS fellowship proposals now include evaluation criteria for actions to improve diversity and inclusion in research and outreach activities. This includes the Donnelley and Hutchinson fellowships and any occasional requests for proposals.
- Access to paid early-career research opportunities is a major barrier to pursuing a career in the environmental sciences. The YIBS Summer Undergraduate Research in the Environmental Sciences (SURES) program aims to remedy this by facilitating research opportunities for rising juniors and seniors from HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs with YIBS-affiliated faculty.
- Development of evidence-based evaluations of the effectiveness of these activities in improving diversity and inclusion in the environmental sciences are ongoing.
YIBS DEI committee: Carla Staver (Chair), Arielle Biro, Jonathan Rohner, Judith Rosentreter, Timothy Sandrey, Eric Sargis, and Xin Sun; and thanks to Rick Bribiescas, Craig Brodersen, Pincelli Hull, Jordan Peccia, and David Vasseur for their helpful feedback on this statement.