NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Update on NSM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Activities

As the University and College forge our pathways forward to increase our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while learning to take intentional anti-racist actions, it is important to have regular updates about our progress.

I invite each of you to get involved with DEI/anti-racism efforts in your units and in the College. At the end of the article is an updated list of Faculty and Staff College-level DEI Committee members. Feel free to reach out to any member of these committees to ask how you can engage. You can also send email to NSM-DEI@nsm.uh.edu with questions, ideas, etc.

Faculty Committee

The Faculty DEI Committee meets on the second Monday of every month. They are working on an NSM statement on DEI, anti-racism, and social justice. It is being developed with input and feedback from faculty, students, and staff. The statement will be prominently placed on our NSM website and will let visitors know that we take this seriously. Faculty, student, and staff recruits routinely look at college/department websites before applying and again before interview so it is important that we reflect our inclusive culture there.

It is very heartening to see that some departments in the College have spontaneously formed DEI/anti-racism/social justice groups who watch or participate in webinars/meetings and then meet after for a small group discussion. Many more faculty are interested in participating, but timing and research/teaching commitments sometimes interfere.

Staff Committee

The Staff DEI Committee is highly active, meeting weekly and having already conducted a survey and arranged two community conversation events for staff. They are planning more activities which will likely be held as ‘lunch and learns’ due to the inherent difficulties in scheduling events for staff during working hours (and also after working hours.)

Joint Faculty/Staff Activities

The Faculty DEI Committee and Staff DEI Committee are planning joint community conversation events in Spring 2021 while both groups will also maintain separate events.

Student Involvement

The students still continue to amaze us with their energy and dedication to these issues which are close to their hearts and experience. They continue to expand the content on the NSM Resources on Racial Injustice and Anti-Racism webpage. The students and the NSM Student Success Team, particularly the Office of First Year Programs, have created and run a set of NSM Talks, Listens, and Shares events on a range of topics including social justice and racism.

Progress in these important areas requires vigilance and engagement. Please join us in our efforts on behalf of the faculty, students, and staff of the College.

NSM Faculty Committee for DEI

  • Jim Briggs and Donna Stokes, Associate Deans (Committee Co-Chairs)
  • Amy Sater (Chair), Biology & Biochemistry
  • Ognjen Miljanic, Chemistry
  • Thamar Solorio, Computer Science
  • Jonny Wu, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Leah McAlister-Shields (NTT), Mathematics
  • Lisa Koerner, Physics

NSM Staff Committee for DEI

  • Stacy Halley, NSM Development (Committee Chair)
  • Marsha Braxton, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Callista Brown, Mathematics
  • Liandra Larsen, teachHouston
  • Emily Merrill, NSM Business Office
  • Vanessa Vasquez, NSM Undergraduate Advising Center