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.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.67 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and its Supplementary Information files.
The code that supports the GLMM findings presented here is available within the paper and its Supplementary Information files.
Hansen, W. D. et al. Ecosphere 9, e02099 (2018).
Hong, L. & Page, S. E. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 101, 16385–16389 (2004).
Woolley, A. W., Chabris, C. F., Pentland, A., Hashmi, N. & Malone, T. W. Science 330, 686–688 (2010).
Nielsen, M. W. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 1740–1742 (2017).
AlShebli, B. K., Rahwan, T. & Woon, W. L. Nat. Commun. 9, 5163 (2018).
Ong, M., Wright, C., Espinosa, L. & Orfield, G. Harv. Educ. Rev. 81, 172–209 (2011).
Hayes, T. B. Mol. Biol. Cell 21, 3767–3769 (2010).
Riegle-Crumb, C., Moore, C. & Ramos-Wada, A. Sci. Educ. 95, 458–476 (2011).
Garibay, J. in Fostering Success of Ethnic and Racial Minorities in STEM: The Role of Minority Serving Institutions (eds. Palmer, R. et al.) 209–220 (Routledge, 2013).
Larivière, V., Ni, C., Gingras, Y., Cronin, B. & Sugimoto, C. R. Nature 504, 211 (2013).
West, J. D., Jacquet, J., King, M. M., Correll, S. J. & Bergstrom, C. T. PloS One 8, e66212 (2013).
Puritty, C. et al. Science 357, 1101–1102 (2017).
Martin, L. J. Front. Ecol. Environ. 10, 177–178 (2012).
Arismendi, I. & Penaluna, B. E. BioScience 66, 584–591 (2016).
Farr, C. M. et al. BioScience 67, 464–468 (2017).
Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J. & Handelsman, J. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 109, 16474–16479 (2012).
O’Dea, R. E., Lagisz, M., Jennions, M. D. & Nakagawa, S. Communications 9, 3777 (2018).
Adamo, S. A. BioScience 63, 43–48 (2013).
Armstrong, M. J., Berkowitz, A. R., Dyer, L. A. & Taylor, J. Front. Ecol. Environ. 5, 415–420 (2007).
Haynes, N. A. & Jacobson, S. J. Environ. Educ. 46, 166–182 (2015).
Haynes, N., Jacobson, S. K. & Wald, D. M. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 39, 228–238 (2015).
Xu, Y. J. Res. High. Educ. 49, 607–624 (2008).
Whittaker, J. A. & Montgomery, B. L. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Educ. 11, A44 (2012).
Hurtado, S. in Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action (ed. Orfield, G.) 187–203 (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2001).
Milem, J. P. in Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affiirmative Action (ed. Orfield, G.) 233–249 (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2001).
Mayhew, M. J. & Grunwald, H. E. J. High. Educ. 77, 148–168 (2006).
Guarino, C. M. & Borden, V. M. Res. High. Educ. 58, 672–694 (2017).
Grogan, K. E. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 3, 3–6 (2018).
Doctoral programs by the numbers. The Chronicle of Higher Education https://www.chronicle.com/article/NRC-Rankings-Overview-Ecology/124723 (2010).
Dillman, D., Smyth, J. & Christian, L. Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (John Wiley & Sons, 2014).
Mayer, A. L. & Wellstead, A. M. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2, 1336 (2018).
Archie, K., Dilling, L., Milford, J. & Pampel, F. Ecol. Soc. 17, 20 (2012).
Bennett, D., Pejchar, L., Romero, B., Knight, R. & Berger, J. Biol. Conserv. 227, 152–159 (2018).
R: A language and environment for statistical computing (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, 2017).
Nakagawa, S. & Schielzeth, H. Methods Ecol. Evol. 4, 133–142 (2013).
Armstrong, J. S. & Overton, T. S. Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. J. Mark. Res. 14, 396–402 (1977).
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.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Supplementary Information and Methods, Supplementary Figs. 1 and 2 and Supplementary Tables 4–5
Demographics of survey respondents from an online survey of US ecology and evolutionary biology faculty on diversity and inclusion
Relationships between frequency of faculty engagement in diversity and inclusion activities and faculty demographics described using generalized linear mixed effects models
Relationships between frequency of faculty engagement in diversity and inclusion activities (counts on a per decade scale) and faculty demographics described using summary statistics
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
Non-aggregated, non-identifiable survey data analysed in this study
R code associated with the generalized linear mixed effects models
About this article
Cite this article
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
Molecular Biology of the Cell (2019)
Undergraduate Disabled Students as Knowledge Producers including Researchers: A Missed Topic in Academic Literature
Education Sciences (2019)