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Inclusion, diversity focus of School of Molecular Sciences JEDI Grant Award

May 28, 2021

The School of Molecular Sciences is part of a group awarded a JEDI — Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion — seed grant from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

The College established JEDI seed grants to promote an environment of equity and inclusion. The School of Molecular Sciences partners with the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Life Sciences on the award and the grant’s fulfillment.

Christy Till, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, along with School of Life Sciences Professor Sharon Hall and Clinical Assistant Professor Ara Austin of the School of Molecular Sciences, were awarded $9,550 for their grant proposal, INCLUDES.

INCLUDES, which stands for “Natural Sciences INCLUsion DEpartmentS Training Program,” will provide annual workplace climate and bystander intervention trainings. These trainings aim to reduce harassment and promote cultural and racial understanding, consistent with ASU’s charter as a “public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed.”

"I believe that we are taking a step towards creating a more inclusive environment across the natural sciences units by participating in the proposed INCLUDES training program,” Austin said. “We are excited that many of our faculty members are eager to participate in this program, and their willingness shows just how much we are taking these matters seriously."

The first INCLUDES trainers — three senior faculty each from the School of Molecular Sciences, School of Life Sciences and School of Earth and Space Exploration — will themselves be trained through the ADVANCEGeo inclusion workshops. These workshops prepare trainers for the biology, chemistry, ecology, geoscience and engineering research environments. The INCLUDES program will be self-sustaining through annual workshops for future trainers. INCLUDES trainers will then teach and mentor other faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in these units.

INCLUDES will instruct participants to recognize ways exclusionary and harmful behaviors manifest in research and educational settings, and to implement direct and indirect behaviors to stop harmful behaviors. Ultimately, INCLUDES will promote improved work and educational environments for the most valued part of ASU — its people.

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