Here’s what we’re doing to foster greater inclusion and belonging within our community.In January 2020, the Fung Institute formed a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Leadership Team. The team’s goal is to a) respond with urgency to meet and develop specific and intentional plans for DEIB across our staff and student communities and b) specifically build on the momentum of the national Black Lives Matter movement to make meaningful changes in addressing systemic forms of racism within our own organization. Actions that we are taking in the 2020–21 academic year to foster greater inclusion and belonging within our community include the following:
Student ExperienceIt is our responsibility to foster an educational environment and culture that is inclusive of our diverse student body. We seek to ensure a diverse recruiting strategy, maintain a healthy and supportive climate, and provide health and wellness opportunities and support for our students. In early 2020, the Fung Institute formed the Student Recruitment Leadership Team to develop an institute-wide student recruitment approach. We aim to define diversity for the Fung Institute and communicate to our external community. Additionally, we commit to measuring our recruitment impact and refining our strategy to increase the diversity of both the applicant pool and admitted students with each application cycle. One priority is to center our outreach efforts on and develop key relationships with specific underserved communities to support the diversity of our applicants. We recognize that funding is a historical barrier to access for graduate programs and are working to create diversity-driven scholarships within the Berkeley MEng opportunity grant program. We are committed to providing an accessible, supportive, and engaging virtual environment for students. We will achieve this by incorporating climate specific questions in student surveys, having one-on-one conversations with our students to identify their needs, and providing an opportunity for continuous feedback and open channels of communication between students and staff. This year, students started fourteen affinity groups based on their technical and social interests, creating spaces and opportunities for them to celebrate, share, support, and learn from each other and the wider community. We intentionally build opportunities for both students and staff to reflect on and address their health and wellness, including sharing well-being resources, supporting and addressing health and wellness in 1x1 meetings, encouraging teaching staff to include wellness practices into lecture and lab sessions, and coordinating virtual wellness activities.
Academics and Program DevelopmentWe are working with our instructional team to further ensure that our curriculum is representative of diverse voices. We will set social good as a criteria for our project sourcing processes to ensure that Fung Institute students can work on projects that will bring value to diverse communities. We will provide additional training to students around implicit bias, inclusive teaming, and accessibility. We will continue working with our employers to make certain that our students are aware of DEIB practices as they relate to career development and hiring practices. We will ensure that our external stakeholders — mentors, alumni, judges — represent the diversity of our state.
Staff ExperienceThe Fung Institute staff commits to create a continuous collaborative environment where people thrive in diverse interaction, strive for equitable goals, engage in inclusive conversations, and create a mutual sense of belonging. We will document and implement communication, collaboration and work preferences to work more effectively with each other and to respect and support our diversity and different needs within our professional lives. We will also continue to establish interaction and best practices for working with our diverse staff members. This includes providing resources, opportunities to learn more, and practice within our community. Lastly, we will develop and share a collaborative working knowledge base for DEIB that includes not only terms and phrases, but also values. The goal is to educate staff, share a comprehensive working knowledge and vocabulary, support staff in engaging in conversations with each other, our students, and our community, and coalesce around values of the institute. As we undertake this work together, we call upon the Fung Institute community to reaffirm the principles of community and to pledge, including among other expectations, that “we won’t demean, devalue or ‘put down’ people for their experiences, lack of experiences, or differences in interpretation of those experiences.” The Fung Institute intends for this statement to keep us accountable to our community and to create a shared vision and understanding among our staff. If you would like to provide feedback about the ways we can continue to make the Fung Institute an inclusive environment, or if you’d like to share a personal experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Fung Institute, visit funginstitute.berkeley.edu.
The Fung Institute’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.