Strategic Plan Pillars - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University Skip to main content

Strategic Plan Pillars

DIVERSITY PILLAR

Building a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible (DEIA) department

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences recognizes that our scientific and educational missions are strengthened by contributions from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and that it is our responsibility to create a positive, inclusive, and supportive department culture that benefits everyone. Dimensions of this diversity can include sex, race, age, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, intellectual and physical ability, disability status, sexual orientation, income, faith and non-faith perspectives, socio-economic class, political ideology, education, primary language, family status, military experience, neurodiversity, and communication style.
We recognize that maintaining a diverse department requires supporting equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all community members. An equitable department enables equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. An inclusive department builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people, and treats all members with respect, appreciation, and as valuable members of the community. As individuals we can support diversity and inclusion by electing diverse community members to leadership positions, considering equity in all decisions within the department, and ensuring that students can easily approach and engage positive role models, mentorship, and instruction in EAPS.

Increase Diversity:
Creating a diverse and inclusive department is paramount to the long-term success of EAPS. The broad range of ideas and lived experiences available to a diverse group increases creativity, increases productivity, leads to better decision making, and increases overall success when compared to homogeneous groups. At all levels EAPS is less diverse than Indiana and the nation. There are a number of initiatives the department can embrace to increase our diversity:
Key Implementation Tasks:
  • Increase recruiting and promotion of underrepresented faculty through targeted diversity higher of underrepresented groups and women, the identification of excellent underrepresented graduate students and postdocs in the field and the building early relationships, improving the interview process by committing to offering more interviews to diverse candidates, requiring diversity statements of all applicants and developing guidelines as to how such statements should be evaluated, and fostering the appointment of underrepresented groups to leadership positions and promotion to high faculty ranks.
  •  Increase recruiting of graduate under-represented minorities (URMs) by expanding our involvement in national and Purdue-led URM recruitment programs, building relationships with faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges, and providing more fellowships aimed at recruitment of URM graduate students. Maintain existing support and relationships with Purdue-based fellowships, e.g., the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership Program. Continue to work with the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies to lessen the barriers for graduate students from underrepresented groups to complete applications. Continually work to achieve best practices in assessing graduate applications from a holistic perspective.
  • Increase recruitment of Purdue undergraduate URMs and first-generation students with undeclared majors and by encouraging transfers through improved visibility of EAPS at university culture centers and increasing the availability of URM undergraduate scholarships.
Goals/Metrics:
  • Increase to at least 20% members of underrepresented groups (non-gender) in all programs including graduate students and faculty. Strive for hiring underrepresented members in cohorts where possible, to facilitate community-building.
  • Increase to 50% women and other underrepresented genders in all programs, including graduate students and faculty.
  • Make two targeted faculty hires from underrepresented groups and commit to promoting and retaining women and underrepresented faculty.

Fostering an Inclusive Departmental Culture
Fostering a diverse and inclusive department is important for attracting and retaining talented students and faculty. Making EAPS more inclusive will enhance our reputation and increase productivity. There are a number of initiatives the department can embrace to make our department more inclusive.
Key Implementation Tasks:
  • Develop and implement a code of conduct that provides guidance and establishes expectations for how individual members of EAPS should conduct their day-to-day interactions with others, as well as key concerns for field and community-based work.
  • Develop resources and best practices for inclusive pedagogy, peer teaching, to be shared amongst faculty and teaching assistants and made publicly available on the department website.
  • Annual climate surveys and exit interviews to assess experience of underrepresented groups and determine whether the department is developing an inclusive culture and whether retention measures are effective. Analysis and discussion of climate surveys should be conducted at the departmental level to ensure transparency and allow for departmental response and follow-up to be revisited on an annual basis.
  • Offer DEIA training regularly with encouraged participation for all department members, with rotating topics including bystander intervention training, holistic graduate application review, and unconscious bias.
  • Bring in diverse seminar speakers and guest lecturers and provide additional opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage with the speakers.
Goals/Metrics:
  • Endorsement of the Code of Conduct by all department members.
  • 90% of faculty and staff to be safe zone and trans inclusion zone trained.
  • Annual climate surveys and exit interviews of faculty, graduate student, and staff.
  • At least one DEIA training session per semester facilitated by experts external to the department.
  • Commit to two to four underrepresented seminar speakers per semester.

EDUCATIONAL PILLAR

Building a Better Educational Experience

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a reputation for excellence in undergraduate education in geology & geophysics and atmospheric, environmental, and planetary science, producing students who are sought after by graduate programs and employers. Though we have ample reason to be proud of our program, we also recognize that these fields are evolving, and with them the knowledge and skills necessary for success, including the ability to work in and help promote a diverse culture. EAPS is committed to increasing the diversity of Under-Represented Minorities (URMs) amongst its students and promoting an equitable and inclusive educational environment that will enable everyone to reach their potential. The implementation tasks to accomplish diversity and equity goals are outlined in the Diversity Pillar. Here we introduce initiatives where our program can evolve to improve the experience of our students by enabling our educational program to be more interdisciplinary, efficient, and expansive.
Improve the Undergraduate Majors’ Experience
EAPS is committed to producing undergraduate students who are well-trained in theory and practice within their chosen field, competitive for employment or graduate school, and who recognize the interrelationships among Earth and planetary processes. Though our program is already strong in these areas, realization of these goals can be increased through improvements to our curriculum and more opportunities for out of the classroom experiences.
Key Implementation Tasks:
  • Continue to evolve undergraduate curriculums for clarity and efficiency to reduce overlap and find opportunities for consolidation, enable expansion of material covered, foster smoother transitions between related courses, and enable students to complete requirements earlier in their academic careers.
  • Encourage cross-discipline courses to broaden student backgrounds, promote more interactions and opportunities for collaboration between research groups, and increase enrollments.
  • Maximize field experience by developing revenue streams to provide the necessary funding, including field oriented educational proposals and funds raised from alumni and industry partners.
  • Ensure accessible field experiences for undergraduate students by providing communal field equipment and accommodating those with disabilities in field experience design and implementation.
  • Provide experiential (community integrated) opportunities to connect students and department with local and other targeted communities.

Improve the Graduate Student’s Experience

EAPS is committed to producing graduate students who can do independent, interdisciplinary world-class research, become leaders in the field, be highly qualified for employment in industry, research, or academia, and address societal grand challenges. Though our program is already strong in these areas, realization of these goals can be increased through improvements to our curriculum and more opportunities for out of the classroom experiences.
Key Implementation Tasks:
  • Encourage cross-discipline courses to broaden student choices and backgrounds, promote more interactions and opportunities for collaboration between research groups, and increase enrollments.
  • Maximize field experience by developing revenue streams to provide the necessary funding, including field oriented educational proposals and funds raised from alumni and industry partners.
  • Ensure accessible field experiences for graduate students by providing communal field equipment and accommodating those with disabilities in field experience design and implementation.
  • Provide experiential (community integrated) opportunities to connect students and department with local and other targeted communities.
  • Provide competitive graduate student salaries.
  • Provide robust professional development (e.g., grant writing, science communication).
  • Facilitate a healthy and inclusive research environment.

Increase Faculty Teaching Efficiency

A key to an effective educational program is the efficient utilization of faculty time as they seek to balance teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities. To that end we will implement tasks that recognize that the best balance of faculty time is dependent on the level and interests of the faculty and the teaching needs of the department.
Key Implementation Tasks:
  • Reduce teaching loads for junior and research active faculty while increasing loads for faculty who prefer a teaching-centric program; recognizing that all rolls are of equal importance to the department.
  • Increase co-teaching to better enable faculty to balance non-teaching commitments, provide redundancy for unplanned absences, and provide students with a broader spectrum of expertise.
  • Maintain a robust core of Professors of Practice to alleviate teaching loads of junior and research active faculty.
  • Determine the optimal structure for graduates and undergraduate TA support for department courses and develop a consistent revenue stream to afford that structure.

Goals/Metrics:

  • 90% of undergraduate and graduate students employed in field or graduate school upon graduation.
  • 70% of undergraduates gain research/presentation, field, and experiential experience prior to graduation.
  • Design and conduct exit interviews with graduate students
  • Minimize overlap between course offerings.

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