Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM
BUILDING AND SUPPORTING GEOSCIENCE DIVERSITY AT PURDUE UNIVERSITY
Purdue University is a large, comprehensive, research-intensive, land-grant, public university located in a rural area of north-central Indiana. Geosciences at Purdue is primarily housed in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, which was initiated in the early 1960s and now has 40 faculty, 200 majors and graduate students, and large research and non-major teaching programs. Over the past 25 years the department has transitioned from one in which the faculty were entirely male, with a variety of national origins and a set of specialties that focused on core areas of earth and atmospheric sciences, to one with richer diversity in several respects. Changes have included hiring excellent faculty who provide a wider range of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin and other perspectives, who serve as role models for women and traditionally underrepresented groups in the geosciences, and who have interests and backgrounds in interdisciplinary areas (about a third of our faculty have joint appointments with other departments). This change resulted from community and leadership commitment to the value and importance of diversity, which allowed us to take advantage of opportunities provided by university and college initiatives that dovetailed with our priorities, including interdisciplinary and targeted hiring opportunities. Faculty have been encouraged and supported to pursue their interests in initiatives to enhance diversity, and have been recognized on campus and nationally for their impacts. Additional outcomes have included increases in student diversity, wider-ranging scholarship, and additional gift and grant funding. Challenges have included retention and the recognition of diverse accomplishments. Although we still have a long way to go, our experience and the lessons we are learning on this journey have been fundamental to the growth and increased success of our department.