Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are central to Princeton University's educational mission and its desire to serve society. Whether through research, teaching, or service, members of the Geosciences Department have a deep commitment to being inclusive. Our commitment to fairness and respect for all fosters the free and open exchange of ideas, which we believe is central to the strength of our discipline.

The Diversity Committee was formed as a faculty committee in 2013. Since 2020 the Diversity Committee has included representatives from the postdoctoral cadre, the Geosciences graduate program, and the undergraduates. All members volunteer their time. We always do much more than we can talk about, but we always accomplish less than we would like. So stay tuned and reach out to us, as many of you have been doing, to remain involved.

The Diversity Committee is accepting proposals requesting funds to support innovative initiatives to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within our Department and beyond. Non-faculty applicants may request funding for a broad range of activities, such as (but not limited to) organizing outreach events, seeding collaborations with minority-serving institutions, and developing programs, infrastructure, coursework and training in the Department. Funding requests for travel expenses of collaborators at under-resourced institutions will also be considered. 
Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis.

Should you need to bring issues to the attention of the University that transcend but include our Department, send an email to Ideas for Change with a copy to us. If you like to remain anonymous, visit Make Your Voice Heard on the Princeton University Inclusion website.  Also note the resources offered by the Princeton University's Ombuds Office.

News & Upcoming Events

2 August 2023: Understanding Accessibility and Accommodations (2h, remote). Register

21 July 2023: Ally Project: Supporting LGBT Students, Staff and Faculty (3h, in person). Register

18 July 2023: Bias, Power, Privilege, and Workplace Communication (1.5h, remote). Register

22 May 2023: Seventh Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

1-2 May 2023: Mental Health First Aid Training course (8 h) taught by Penn Medicine Princeton Health.

24 April 2023: Sixth Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

22 April 2023: Spring into Science! First annual  event (10:00 am - 12:30 pm in the Frick Atrium). Open to all ten Science Outreach academic departments. Participants will include 4th–10th graders from area schools, afterschool programs, and their families. Spring into Science is an outreach opportunity to share engaging and informative science with the community.

20-21 April 2023: Future Faculty in the Physical Sciences Fellows Symposium.

27 March-April 1 2023: GradFUTURES Forum: the Graduate School's 4th annual professional development conference for graduate students.

27 March 2023: Fifth Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

24 March 2023: Academic DEI/Climate Committee retreat. Keynote speaker: Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt, a professor and national expert on diversity, equity, climate and inclusion. Princeton colleagues Cole Crittenden, Judith Hamera, Khristina Gonzalez, and Andy Hakim discuss academic outreach activities, and learning and professional development pathways. Attendees drawn mostly from the Faculty as well as departmental administrators share best practices and success stories from their departments.

27 February 2023: Fourth Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

27 January 2023: Fourth Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

20 January 2023: Physicist, feminist, author and science communicator Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein speaks on The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, at 4 pm in McDonnell A02. Lays out a bold new approach to science and society, beginning with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe. In this lecture, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter—along with a perspective informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. Prescod-Weinstein is a graduate of Harvard College, University of California — Santa Cruz, and the University of Waterloo. One of under 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics, she is a theoretical physicist with expertise in particle physics, cosmology, and astrophysics, with an emphasis on dark matter. In addition, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is a theorist of Black feminist science, technology, and society studies, and a monthly columnist for New Scientist. Her research and advocacy for marginalized people in physics and astronomy have won multiple awards, and her first book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, was published in 2021.

14 December 2022: The 2021-22 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion annual report has been released and is available through the homepage story and on the Inclusive Princeton website. The materials include an introductory video message.Printed copies are available upon request from Felicia Edwards.

9-12 December 2022: Interviews with post-doctoral candidates for the Future Faculty in the Physical Sciences (FFPS) Fellowship.

9 December 2022: Third Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

3 November 2022: Second Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

12  October 2022: First Diversity Committee meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year.

28 September 2022: Please join us for the Amplifying Voices Distinguished Lecture, by Dr. Raven Baxter, science communicator, molecular biologist, music artist and advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM. 

21 September 2022: Princeton Early Career Researchers in Geosciences (PECRiG) Fall Mixer!

14-17 August 2022: AGU Chapman Conference: The Second National Conference: Justice in Geoscience.  Gemma Sahwell from the Diversity Committee attended in person. Videos from the keynote speakers

4 May 2022: Princeton University is partnering with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and five historically Black colleges and universities to launch a groundbreaking program designed to enable research collaborations between Princeton faculty and their peers at HBCUs. Full article.

April 2022: Princeton University will host CUWiP,  the APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics in January 2023. With the support of the American Physical Society and partner institutions, PPPL and Princeton University’s CUWiP will engage roughly 200 young physicists, giving the participants valuable experience, information, support, and tools to succeed in physics-related careers. Let Frederik Simons or Shannon Greco at PPPL know if you are interested in supporting the local organization committee.

The Committee welcomes input and news about upcoming events, so that we can effectively and widely share them.

Initiatives & Activities

Departmental Code of Conduct for Field Work

At one point or another, even the most theoretical geoscientist ventures out into "the field" for research or education. Princeton University's Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities apply while traveling every bit as much as on campus. The added provisions for responsible conduct and leadership in the field are spelled out in a document that is signed by all field trip participants, students and instructors, prior to departure, a survey of all participants is conducted after every field experience, and a permanent record is kept.

Departmental Demographics

 The Office of Institutional Research maintains a public Diversity Dashboard with demographic data at the University level. 

Here are the 2019 data for our Department as identified by the search term "Geosciences" in the database to which direct public access is restricted: FacultyPostdocGraduateUndergraduate | Doctoral. Comparisons on doctoral degree completion with other research-intensive universities by Race/Ethnicity and Gender. Please contact Shawn Maxam with any questions or to request access.

Please note that the University now publishes an Annual Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with many useful facts and figures. The 2021 Report can be downloaded here or read directly online here.

Workshops & Training Opportunities

Princeton offers an array of courses and workshops taught by internal and external speakers. Consult the Employee Learning Center under Diversity & Inclusion for specific offerings. Specific examples from past courses taken or lectures attended by our Faculty and Staff are: Engaging with Students around Race and Racism by Mark Anthony Neal, Inclusive Teaching for a Diverse Scientific Workforce by Allison Gammie,  Leveraging Diversity, Challenges and Opportunities, by Sharon Fries-Britt, How to be A Male Ally to Women in STEM, by Chris Kilmartin, Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Ideas from Whistling Vivaldi, by the McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning Inclusive Teaching at Princeton series...

The Committee welcomes input and news about upcoming learning opportunities, so that we can effectively and widely share them.

Reading Suggestions

Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton (HarperCollins, 2022).

I am, by Jeff Caers (Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 14 Jun 2021).

Seven Ways PIs Can Counteract Systematic Bias Right Now, by Jessica Duncombe (Eos, 12 Mar 2021).

Diversity in Science: Next Steps for Research Group Leaders, by Nikki Forrester (Nature, 23 Sep 2020).

The University, Social Justice, and Free Inquiry,  by Mark F. Bernstein (Princeton Alumni Weekly, 9 Sep 2020).

If you want more women in your workforce, here’s how to recruit, by Emma Pierson et al. (Nature, 26 Aug 2020).

What Black scientists want from colleagues and their institutions, by Virginia Gewin (Nature, 22 Jun 2020).

Race After Technology, by Ruha Benjamin (Polity, 2019).

Invisible Labor, by Eric Anthony Grollman (Inside Higher Ed, 15 Dec 2015).

Old News & Past Events

History & Context

The Diversity Committee is an academic consultative ad hoc committee within the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University, devoted to promoting access, increasing diversity and fostering inclusivity both within the Department, the University, and the world at large. The University's Statement of Diversity and Community articulated as part of its Principles of General Conduct and Regulations writes that we actively seek students, faculty, and staff of exceptional ability and promise who share in our commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship, and who will bring a diversity of viewpoints and cultures. By incorporating a broad range of human experiences and a rich variety of human perspectives, we enlarge our capacity for learning, enrich the quality and texture of campus life, and better prepare for life and leadership in a pluralistic society. (...) We seek to enable all members of this community to pursue their educational, scholarly, and career interests in an environment that recognizes both the distinctiveness of each person’s experience and the common humanity that unites us all, and permits us to take full educational advantage of the variety of talents, backgrounds, and perspectives of those who live and work here.

In its Statement on Freedom of Expression, the University furthermore states that it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.(...) The ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas (...) The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission. (...) The University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.