Diversity and Inclusion Plan

This document sets out an ambitious 10-year plan to continue to support and improve diversity and inclusion in the physics department at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. It highlights strategies which should be followed on the 10-year time scale as well as providing specific near-term actions to be taken by the department. The plan is intended for all members of the department: students (both undergraduate and graduate), staff (both technical and administrative), as well faculty. In particular, it highlights both long term goals (on the scale that we hope to accomplish in 5-10 years) and shorter-term items which can be addressed fully in the more immediate period.

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Mission and Statement

“We strive to create environments for learning, working, and living that are enriched by racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. We seek to cultivate an atmosphere of respect for individual differences in life experience, sexual orientation, and religious belief, and we aspire to be free of intellectual parochialism, barriers to access, and ethnocentrism. Success in a competitive, global milieu depends upon our ongoing commitment to welcome and engage the wisdom, creativity, and aspirations of all peoples. The excellence we seek emerges from the contributions and talents of every member of the physics department. Our mission is to expand the frontiers of fundamental physics research, to educate the next generation of scientific and educational leaders, and to produce an impact on the community commensurate with our distinguished history. We bring together diverse and excellent faculty, students, staff and researchers with a universal dedication to upholding the highest standards of scholarship, teaching, and service.”

Code of Conduct

Section 1: Conduct

The University of Wisconsin-Madison physics department consists of members with varied national origin, ethnic background, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender, age, physical ability, and religion. As a community, we are committed to being positive and inclusive in all regards. We follow the University of Wisconsin-Madison code of conduct. The members of University of Wisconsin–Madison must maintain a professional environment in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect and abstain from all forms of harassment, abuse, intimidation, bullying, and mistreatment of any kind. This includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, sexual or crude jokes or comments, offensive images, and unwelcomephysical conduct. Members must keep in mind that behavior and language deemed acceptable to one person may not be to another.

Before embarking on specific strategies, we outline some high-level goals the department can aspire to continue to work on the diversity and inclusion of the department. We identify four high-level goals for the department:

Section 2: Remediation

Any person who is concerned that an individual has violated the department’s code of conduct may bring the issue to the attention of the department’s climate and diversity committee who will assist in suggesting steps to resolve the issue. Issues that cannot be resolved by the climate and diversity committee may be brought to the direct attention of the department chair or associate chair. The department chair/associate chair will seek information on the nature of the problem and discuss the complaint with all parties involved and appropriately inform the parties of the outcome. If the issue cannot be resolved by the chair/associate chair or if it would be inappropriate to bring the issue to either the diversity or inclusion committee or the chair/associate chair the individual may contact the appropriate resources outside the department depending on the nature of the issue:

  • The Dean of student’s office for undergraduate and graduate student: https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/nonacademic-misconduct/
  • Associate Dean in the College of Letters and Sciences
  • Ombuds Office: http://ombuds.wisc.edu/
  • Title IX Office for Equity and Diversity: https://compliance.wisc.edu/titleix/

Key Goals

The Key Goals of the Physics Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan are:

  • Goal 1: Enhance diversity in the department at all levels through increased recruitment of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Goal 2: Sustain diversity in the department by ensuring an inclusive climate, welcoming to all students, faculty and staff regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, or socioeconomic circumstances.
  • Goal 3: Build on the inclusive climate in the department to maximize the retention and graduation of undergraduate and graduate physics majors, eliminating disparities in graduation rates among diverse groups.
  • Goal 4: Implement best practices for mentoring and career development for faculty and staff that promote equitable opportunities for career success.

In order to monitor these goals, we will require that on a yearly basis the department diversity and inclusion committee construct two documents:

  • At the start of each academic year the diversity and inclusion committee shall identify a few (order of 1-3) specific short-term items to work on that year along with ongoing longer-term projects.
  • At the end each academic year the diversity and inclusion committee shall write a report on the achievements of the department and committee that year and what remain longer term projects.

Specific Strategies

This section is divided into several sub-sections that sets specific strategies for the department on the 5-10-year time scale in the areas of recruitment, retention, teaching, mentoring, and climate.

Section 1: Recruitment

The UW physics department has demographic statistics that are. somewhat below national averages for women and underrepresented minorities when compared to other physics departments. However, on an absolute scale there are still large gaps that need improvement as these averages are very low compared to general population and an active recruitment strategy is in all areas of the department.

  • Faculty: Continue to take advantage of campus wide opportunities such as the TOP (Target Of Opportunity)  program and target of opportunity hires (ongoing, chair of department
  • Faculty: Provide Departmental Support for underrepresented minority and women post-doctoral fellows and graduate students to visit the department and give seminars and faculty to give colloquium and seminars (by 2021, diversity chair)
  • Faculty: Identify and engage early career underrepresented potential candidates by maintaining a list of potential candidates and develop best practices for maintaining and updating that list. (ongoing, faculty)
  • Graduate: Develop relationships with historically minority serving institutions, and women’s colleges to broaden the pool of applicants (ongoing, director of graduate studies, graduate administrator)
  • Graduate: Develop relationships with McNair Scholars programs at at UW-Madison and elsewhere to broaden the pool of applicants in the first generation of their family to attend college, from families in lower income circumstances, and from underrepresented groups.
  • Graduate: Investigate and consider joining the APS Bridge program (by 2023, director of graduate studies, graduate administrator)
  • Graduate: Continue to review and implement holistic evaluation of candidates including contributions to diversity and non-traditional educational backgrounds (ongoing, graduate admissions committee)
  • Graduate: Continue to supplement funding of campus diversity fellowships to make them competitive (ongoing, graduate admissions committee)
  • Graduate: Continue recruitment efforts for underrepresented applicants through personal encouragement/contacts from faculty and student organizations. Every prospective student should be contacted by at least two faculty members and one student (ongoing, graduate admissions committee).
  • Undergraduate: Investigate the possibility of running a summer pipeline program for prospective students from underrepresented communities (by 2022, diversity chair and undergraduate administrator)
  • Undergraduate: Work with Letters & Sciences advisors to identify and mentor prospective physics majors early (ongoing, diversity chair and undergraduate administrator)
  • Form connections between the Physics Department and campus diversity programs such as the Division of Diversity Equity and Academic Achievement (Center for Educational Opportunity, POSSE, PEOPLE, Mercille Lee Scholars, First Wave) and the Center for Academic Excellence. Opportunities to make these connections include participating in panels and resource fairs.
  • Undergraduates: At least one member of the diversity committee attends the majors fair and specifically recruit underrepresented minorities and women along with the general recruitment (ongoing, diversity committee).
  • Staff: Require all staff to be hires to be interviewed by a diverse panel of management and peers if available (ongoing, new staff committee).
  • Staff: Have formal discussion of diversity goals with hiring committees (ongoing, new staff committee).
  • All: Formally track statistics of all recruitment efforts and maintain yearly records of outcomes (ongoing, diversity chair, new staff committee, graduate administrator, graduate admissions committee).
  • Utilize the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) guidelines when making hiring decisions.

Section 2: Retention

  • Building connections to the Division of Diversity Equity and Educational Achievement programs, the Center for Academic Excellence, McNair, McBurney, WiscAMP, Simpson Street Free Press, and other potential campus partners (ongoing, diversity chair, outreach committee).
  • Conduct a review of high impact practices with funding for student involvement (by 2022, department chair).
  • Continued financial and in-kind support for GWaMIP and graduate council and formalize existing working relationships between these organizations and other efforts (ongoing, director of graduate studies, diversity chair, graduate administrator).
  • Encourage and support learning communities such as the PGSC’s evening homework sessions, the Physics Club, and the Physics Learning Center.

Section 3: Teaching

  • Initiative training on best practices for creating a welcoming, collaborative classroom environment that encourages questions and effective group work — perhaps by Delta program or a panel of Physics faculty who have been part of the Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE) program. This training potentially could be part of a department meeting (by 2022, diversity chair, department chair).
  • Encourage faculty to participate in the MTLE program, and or other programs such as the Leadership Institute which is a learning community housed within the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement (DDEEA).
  • Commit to departmental support for the Physics 247 and Physics 207 supplemental instruction program (by 2021, department chair).

Section 4: Climate

  • Diversity Training: Promote and encourage department members to go to diversity training, lunch series and other campus wide events promoting and providing education about diversity and inclusion (ongoing, diversity chair, department chair).
  • Department level Events: Encourage the department to hold more department level social events to promote social interaction between individuals (holiday party, potluck, etc) (ongoing, diversity committee).
  • Awards: Ensure that best practices are followed in awards allocation (ongoing, awards committee)
  • Colloquium: Continue to promote these as departmental events by increasing the social interaction for all members of the department before the colloquium and encourage them with upgraded refreshments (ongoing, colloquium committee).
  • Diversity Officer: Consider having a departmental wide diversity officer to ensure the department is following best practices in the department and to serve as a contact person for diversity related issues in the department (by 2020, department chair).
  • Department Fair: department host a fair to help students connect to high impact practices including research, tutoring, and outreach opportunities (by 2022, diversity committee)
  • Plan a roundtable or panel discussion regarding inclusive practices for the classroom and out of classroom. Panelists could include representatives from the McBurney Center, the Division of Diversity Equity and Educational Achievement, the Center for Academic Excellence, and the office working with Returning Adult students (by 2021, diversity committee)

Accountability and Reporting

By the end of each academic year the diversity committee will present a report to the department discussing the progress that was made towards the plan. This will include a realistic assessment of the progress made by the department and the most important action items for the next year.