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About DEI at Michigan EARTH

DEI Committee

The EARTH Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee was formed in 2016 and  currently includes faculty, staff, and graduate student representatives.

Committee Members:

  • Rebecca Lange (Professor)
  • Selena Smith (Associate Professor)
  • Jena Johnson (Assistant Professor)
  • Matt Friedman (Professor)
  • Michaela Arnaboldi (Lecturer/Teaching Professor)
  • Diana Velazquez (Graduate Student)
  • Kate Lopez (Undergraduate Student)

We always welcome feedback, ideas, and suggestions! Please contact us at:



Departmental Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, Belonging, and Accessibility

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is committed to combating persistent systemic racism, misogyny, discrimination against and mistreatment of minoritized groups that that may exist in our institution and our society. We acknowledge this work is ongoing and requires consistent effort.

Inclusion is essential to support the well-being of our students. As a department, we aim to provide our students with a holistic educational experience, and ensure their success after completing their degrees. Faculty and staff are committed to supporting students to achieve their academic and professional goals, while being respectful and welcoming of each student’s cultural identities, background, and life experiences.


Our existing efforts

  • Earth Camp, a summer residential program for underrepresented high school students;
  • Providing research experiences for underrepresented students through departmental support, a National Science Foundation Geopaths grant, and participating in M-Sci;
  • Fall Preview, a recruiting event to help underrepresented undergraduate students have strong applications and connections to the Earth & Environmental Sciences PhD program;
  • NextProf Science, a workshop for underrepresented PhD students and postdocs to obtain advice on academia;
  • A Field Gear Reuse/Library program run by the departmental GeoClub to remove financial barriers to undergraduates participating in field trips.


How we are expanding our efforts

We are implementing programs to increase departmental inclusivity, which will include improved mentoring, funding for outreach work, an equity book club to discuss racism, feminism, & bias, and small grants to fund attendance at conferences that explicitly network minority groups (such as the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science [SACNAS] or the National Association of Black Geoscientists [NABG] conferences). Additionally, we taught a new Wolverine Pathways class for rising seniors in Summer 2020 and the department began offering a Comprehensive Studies Program section of Introduction to Earth Sciences in Fall 2020—both aimed at recruiting more underrepresented students into the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences.


Starting dialogues on next actions

To implement long-term structural changes in our program and community, informal groups of students, staff, and faculty are working on identifying actions we can take, including:

  • Department-wide and faculty/staff DEI trainings, including on implicit bias, inclusive teaching, bystander intervention, and microaggressions
  • Expanding our networks, including diversifying our weekly Smith Lecture seminar series, tapping into new networks to recruit for the LSA Collegiate Fellowship and Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship programs, and engaging more underrepresented undergraduate students in our research
  • Mechanisms to diversify and support/retain our graduate student body
  • Incorporating geoscience-relevant topics on racism, societal relevance, and environmental justice in our curriculum


Land acknowledgment

The University of Michigan, named after Michigamaa (“Great Water” in Ojibwe), occupies the traditional territory stewarded by the Anishinaabe. This land was ceded through the Treaty of Fort Meigs by the Anishinaabeg—the Three Fires People—Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa) and Bodewadimi (Potawatomi). Through these words, their current and ancestral ties to the land and to the University are acknowledged. We encourage everyone to self-educate about the history of the land you live on by checking out the Ziibiwing Center and the American Indian community at U-Michigan.