This is the formal committee established by the UI Department of Chemistry to work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion within the department.

Current members (2023-2024)

Renee S. Cole portrait

Renee S. Cole

Department Executive Officer and Chair
M. Lei Geng portrait

M. Lei Geng

Portrait of Samantha Kruse

Samantha Kruse

Graduate Student
Forbes/MacGillivray Groups
Rebecca Laird portrait

Rebecca Laird

Associate Professor of Instruction
Portrait of Hannah Nennig

Hannah Nennig

Graduate Student
Cole Group
Emily Platt portrait

Emily Platt

Instructional Services Specialist
Benjamin Revis portrait

Benjamin Revis

Scientific Glassblower
Portrait of Josie Welker

Josie Welker

Graduate Student
Stone Group

DEI Committee action items

There are multiple ways that you can get involved with ongoing efforts to make the Department of Chemistry a more inclusive community and equitable place to work and learn. The following information gives you some information on the groups leading efforts in the department and some current goals/action items for these groups. We hope to update this site regularly to provide transparency in our efforts and progress within the department.

A) Build a DEI Library - a selection of media/books/articles that are available in University and local libraries, in addition to some specific resources personally recommended by members of the committee and available in the Chemistry Center.

B) Host one or two talks for our Departmental Colloquium that educate our department on DEI-relevant topics.

C) Disseminate a DEI survey for the Undergraduate population (chemistry majors and minors)

D) Create DEI Committee recommendations to research group leaders and provide resources to support and facilitate DEI-related discussions

E) Provide a clear platform/manner for reporting incidents to the DEI committee

F) Work with the Title IX/HR offices to craft an informational session (e.g. webinar, recorded video, Q and A session) explaining the reporting process, including options to report within the department, through ombudsman’s offices, and formal reporting to HR.  Make this webinar accessible indefinitely to all members of the community.  Include details of what happens after an incident is reported.

G) Improve accessibility in the department

H) Provide guidance for the formation of a new Undergraduate DEI Cohort

I) Promote the adoption of Diversity and Inclusivity moments as an option instead of traditional "Safety Moment" in departmental presentations.

A) Identify undergraduate students to serve as voting representatives on the DEI committee and with the DEI graduate cohort. Completed Nov. 2021. 

B) Create a Department of Chemistry DEI library where students can check out books and other media on DEI and related subjects. Ongoing, see Action Items 2022-2023

C) Develop a recurring annual survey to evaluate DEI issues and efforts within the Department of Chemistry.  Completed Mar. 2022

D) Assist the DEI cohort with a professional development workshop for Department of Chemistry graduate students, staff, and faculty.  Tabled

E) Host a showing of “Picture a Scientist” in collaboration with other STEM departments (e.g., Biology and Math), groups, and the graduate DEI cohort. Completed Apr. 2022

F) Investigate potential inequities in the language proficiency exams and associated language requirements for international graduate students. Completed Spring 2022, Recommendations Made to DOC Admin

G) Investigate ways to improve equity and transparency in the Department of Chemistry comprehensive exam process. Completed Fall 2022, Recommendations made to GEC Committee

H) Establish a formal process for putting out statements as a committee. Completed Nov. 2021. 

A) Ratify the Anti-racism statement and publish it on the Department of Chemistry website.  UPDATE:  Statement finalized and currently posted on the website.

B) Articulate current and potential inequalities associated with the graduate comprehensive exam and work with the graduate education committee to normalize a systematic evaluation to address issues. UPDATE:  A survey was developed that was distributed to graduate students to determine perceptions about equity for the comprehensive exam.  The results were summarized and sent to the Director for Graduate Studies and Graduate Education Committee.

C) Identify issues with time-to-degree and formal mentoring for graduate students.  UPDATE:  This action item was tabled until next academic year because priority was initially placed upon the comprehensive exam survey.

D) Gather feedback from the staff to improve communication with the faculty – Articulate issues and discuss path forward for the department.  UPDATE:  This action item was tabled until next academic year due to issues in scheduling.

E) Utilize the Departmental DEI website, listservs, flyers, and weekly bulletin to improve access to resources. UPDATE:  Representatives from the DEI graduate cohort developed a DEI resources flyer that is displayed in the department elevators/research groups/notice boards.  This flyer includes QR codes that link to mental health, employment, and LBGTQ+ resources, a comments section, and a place to anonymously report microagressions or other concerns.  

F) Develop an anti-racism workshop for DOC graduate students. UPDATE:  The DEI graduate cohort has taken the lead and developed slides for the event but have decided to table the workshop until Fall 2021.

G) Develop a recurring survey for Spring 2021 to evaluate DEI issues and efforts within the DOC. UPDATE:  The survey has been created, but we decided to wait until early next fall for the release due to concerns about low survey participation and burnout at the end of the spring 2021 semester.

H) Contribute events to the CLAS “The intersection of STEM and Race:  The UI experience.” event in March 2021.  UPDATE:  Hosted two colloquium speakers during March 2021 that presented on DEI efforts in chemistry and the DEI graduate cohort organized an Identity Awareness week.