Our community values

We the members of the Department of Integrative Biology (IB) at Oregon State University are committed to fostering a safe, open, equitable, and inclusive environment in which to learn and work. We are striving to recruit, support, and honor a diverse range of thoughts, backgrounds, and identities. We value our IB community members’ intersecting identities, as well as open dialogue, mutual respect, and empathy for varied perspectives. We recognize the need for inclusion and equity for those who have been underserved and marginalized and are still underrepresented in our community. We value incorporating varied and diverse worldviews in our mission, both for the success of our department at OSU and for just, meaningful, and relevant service to our greater community.

By providing a safe, respectful, educational, and welcoming environment, we aim to empower the current and future members of our department to bring their full and authentic selves to OSU, so that all of us feel a sense of belonging. A positive working environment is vital to achieving academic and professional goals, individually and as a department. We understand that our personal biases affect our ways of thinking. Our encouragment and support of the growth of individual IB members can help confront harmful biases that reinforce stereotypes and systems of oppression. Multiple perspectives and experiences improve the quality and impact of our work, and we continue to identify and work to remedy past and current injustices. We are, and always will be, in the process of learning.

How our values guide the way forward

Our values help guide the ongoing steps towards equity, justice, and inclusion within our department at all levels and across our national and international activities. We recognize that the work undertaken by IB members -- teaching and advising students, mentoring, community and university service, and conducting and collaborating on a wide range of research projects -- all represent opportunities to both improve and be improved by equity, justice, and inclusion within our community. We have taken and will continue to take actions that reflect our values. For example, our current departmental composition does not yet reflect the composition of OSU’s student body. Remedying this is just one of the many steps we must take to work towards justice and equity in the IB community.

Acknowledging and moving beyond our history

Reviewing history to understand where we come from (see resources below) helps us comprehend where we are today and allows us to move toward a more just and equitable future. We recognize that science has historically been built upon a small group of privileged voices, and that systemic racism and other built-in systems of oppression impede scientific progress, limit students’ access to education and ability to progress in their chosen field and decrease their sense of belonging in STEM. Although our department remains a reflection of past society, we have made strides towards a more diverse community with varied experiences, ways of thinking, and identities. We are working to achieve a community that completely embodies our values.

A group approach to our community values statement

In the Fall of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement further exposed the inequity in countless aspects of our lives, including science and academia. Many had already begun this work towards equity, justice, and inclusion, but these past few months have shown the importance of prioritizing this in every aspect of our department. In February 2021, all faculty, staff, and graduate students from IB were invited to a retreat to discuss our individual and departmental values as they relate to equity, justice, and inclusion. This was a participatory process where we shared and documented our foundational values. From this common starting point, each of us was tasked to create an individual statement of our own values around diversity, based on our mission within the IB Department (e.g., for our syllabi, lab websites, job applications, mentoring, etc.). These individual statements were shared within the department and used along with dialogue from the retreat to create this IB community statement of our core values. These values are helping to guide our actions and metrics as we move forward.

This community values statement is a living document that will be periodically reviewed and updated by members of our IB community.

 
 
Resources to learn more about the long history of oppression and discrimination in the State of Oregon.

https://dpd.oregonstate.edu/history
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/516558
https://ndnhistoryresearch.com/
https://fiveoaksmuseum.org/exhibit/this-is-kalapuyan-land/