Underrepresented faculty play a disproportionate role in advancing diversity and inclusion

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Abstract

A diverse and inclusive scientific community is more productive, innovative and impactful, yet ecology and evolutionary biology continues to be dominated by white male faculty. We quantify faculty engagement in activities related to diversity and inclusion and identify factors that either facilitate or hinder participation. Through a nationwide survey, we show that faculty with underrepresented identities disproportionally engage in diversity and inclusion activities, yet such engagement was not considered important for tenure. Faculty perceived time and funding as major limitations, which suggests that institutions should reallocate resources and reconsider how faculty are evaluated to promote shared responsibility in advancing diversity and inclusion.

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Fig. 1: Characteristics of faculty that engaged in diversity and inclusion activities.
Fig. 2: Factors limiting faculty participation in activities related to diversity and inclusion.

Data availability

The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and its Supplementary Information files.

Code availability

The code that supports the GLMM findings presented here is available within the paper and its Supplementary Information files.

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Acknowledgements

We thank our survey respondents for their participation, as well as the graduate students and faculty at Colorado State University who piloted earlier versions of our survey instrument.

Author information

M.F.J., T.M.L., S.P.B., K.W., D.E.W. and L.P. conceived the study, designed the survey and wrote the manuscript. M.F.J., T.M.L., S.P.B. and K.W. analysed the data. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Correspondence to Theresa M. Laverty.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information and Methods, Supplementary Figs. 1 and 2 and Supplementary Tables 4–5

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Table 1

Demographics of survey respondents from an online survey of US ecology and evolutionary biology faculty on diversity and inclusion

Supplementary Table 2

Relationships between frequency of faculty engagement in diversity and inclusion activities and faculty demographics described using generalized linear mixed effects models

Supplementary Table 3

Relationships between frequency of faculty engagement in diversity and inclusion activities (counts on a per decade scale) and faculty demographics described using summary statistics

Supplementary Table 6

Comparison of the first and last 20% of survey respondents to address non-response bias from an online survey of US ecology and evolutionary biology faculty on diversity and inclusion

Data

Non-aggregated, non-identifiable survey data analysed in this study

Code

R code associated with the generalized linear mixed effects models

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Jimenez, M.F., Laverty, T.M., Bombaci, S.P. et al. Underrepresented faculty play a disproportionate role in advancing diversity and inclusion. Nat Ecol Evol 3, 1030–1033 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0911-5

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