NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

NSM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Update

The NSM response to the disturbing events leading up to and following George Floyd’s murder has involved students, faculty, and now staff. Brief updates are provided in each of those categories below. Please reach out to the appropriate groups if you have ideas, concerns, and/or you want to ensure that you are included in elements of our response. As our response evolves, we hope to develop committee leadership roles under a rotating cycle involving a current leader working with a leader-in-training for the next year.


An NSM committee of faculty focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has been constituted and has met. The committee had a wide ranging discussion, although considerable focus was on faculty diversity, or rather the significant lack of diversity.

UH and NSM have taken many steps in recent years, spurred by an NSF ADVANCE grant to UH surrounding faculty success and diversity. One of their products is Recruiting the Powerhouse faculty which is a guide full of very useful information and strategy for recruiting a more diverse faculty. One important element is search committee training for all members of the committee every two years. The training is focused on implicit bias, diversity, inclusion, and provides practical and actionable steps to take to diversify the applicant pools and encourage less biased selection of candidates.

As a result, the NSM applicant pools have significantly increased in size and diversity, particularly, but not only, gender diversity. This has led to the hiring of more women and to smaller increases in hiring of underrepresented faculty. That trend continues to be positive with faculty hires this year (two Hispanic males and two female faculty, out of five hires).

The committee will strongly recommend that each department have a DEI committee. EAS is ahead of the curve and recently created one. The committee will strongly recommend that the department DEI committees play a role in actively diversifying the departmental applicant pools, and more. The NSM DEI committee will meet on a regular basis and will provide mechanisms for anonymous and non-anonymous feedback on racial injustice and specific steps that we can take to eliminate it.

NSM Faculty Committee for DEI

  • Jim Briggs and Donna Stokes, Associate Deans
  • Amy Sater (Chair), Biology & Biochemistry
  • Ognjen Miljanic, Chemistry
  • Thamar Solorio, Computer Science
  • Johnny Wu, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Leah McAlister-Shields (NTT), Mathematics
  • Margaret Cheung, Physics

Staff (NEW!)

While our earliest efforts in NSM relating to structural racism and anti-racism were with the students and faculty, it is evident to the leadership in NSM that the staff are one of the three sets of stakeholders with valuable insights, genuine concern, and direct experience with these issues. We therefore are creating a staff DEI committee that will contain representation from the various staff units in NSM. We are very fortunate to have a volunteer and organizer for our staff effort – Stacy Halley from the NSM Development Office. Stacy is passionate about these long-standing issues and will seek volunteers from among the staff units for this committee. It is important that each set of stakeholders have a safe space to share stories, concerns, and ideas. Groups will initially meet separately with joint efforts to be planned over time to collaborate and learn together as a college. Stacy joins the team of overall organizers of the NSM DEI effort, Jim Briggs and Donna Stokes.


A very early step that the students of NSM took was sending a message to NSM students shortly after the George Floyd murder that conveyed support for Black students, anti-racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. On the heels of that outreach, they pooled their knowledge on anti-racism and structural racism resources and created a resources webpage that is located under the NSM webpage: www.uh.edu/nsm/resources/antiracism/. The resources are also accessible from the NSM homepage.

This page is frequently updated to include new internal and external resources and inspiration surrounding racial injustice and anti-racism. Our students are very engaged on this important core set of issues, and they have many ideas of actions to take to spur discussion, support, and change. We will report on those in future editions of the Faculty and Staff Newsletter so that we can all benefit and support them in their endeavors.