Department of Geological Sciences:

Undergraduate majors in Geological Sciences (B.S. and B.A.) and Environmental Science (B.S.)
M.S. in Geological Sciences
Joint Doctoral Program in Earthquake Science and Applied Geophysics (with Scripps/UCSD)

Committee

Jillian Maloney (chair), Associate Professor, Undergraduate Advisor
Rafael Almeida, Assistant Professor
Samantha Bova, Assistant Professor
Dave Kimbrough, Professor
Shuo Ma, Associate Professor, Graduate Advisor
Kim Olsen, Professor, JDP Advisor
Kevin Robinson, Lecturer
Stephen Schellenberg, Professor, Interim Department Chair
Heather Webb, Instructional Support Tech III
Matthew Weingarten, Assistant Professor

Diversity Statement

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at SDSU is committed to nurturing and uplifting the diversity of thought and perspective that comes with our unique identities. We seek to create an inclusive, anti-racist community that supports and encourages the advancement of student leaders, staff, and faculty who invite and celebrate diversity. We recognize that Earth and Environmental Science is deeply intertwined with racial and social justice, and we must do better to connect these in our teaching and research. We further recognize that Earth Science is inherently interdisciplinary, and a diversity of experiences, cultures, values, and ideas are needed to tackle the enormous environmental challenges facing the world. We pledge to fight the biases and discriminatory practices that create barriers to broader participation in Earth Sciences. We further commit to identifying and implementing actions to create a more diverse, respectful, and inclusive space for all. 

Planned Curricular Changes

We reviewed current courses for DEI content by sending out a survey for instructors to report their own strategies (if any). Response rate was low, but discussions among the DEI committee, which includes all T/TT faculty provided additional information. Results of the survey and discussions show that since summer 2020, some faculty have incorporated more curricula on racial and social justice, anti-racism, and cultural diversity into their courses, but there has not yet been a department-wide effort to do so. Some of the courses that do incorporate these themes are:

ENVS100, Environmental Sciences: This course currently includes and will expand DEI subjects like environmental justice, ecofeminism, indigenous rights, culture based values, social equity, and the under representation in science, and science history, of women and people of color.  In addition to lecture materials that relate to the above topics, several read-write exercises have been incorporated into the curriculum, including the following examples:

  1. Diversity in Science: Following the 2020 protests, universities pledge commitment to inclusion in science research.
  2. The Biodiversity Battle: Focus on building consensus and developing strategies to include views of underrepresented groups and indigenous stakeholders.
  3. Respect and Representation: Indigenous scientists seek inclusion for their knowledge and for themselves,   highlighting data on underrepresentation.
  4. River Conservation by an Indigenous Community:  A story of successful river resource management by local indigenous people in Thailand and Myanmar.

ENVS100, Environmental Sciences: This course currently includes and will expand DEI subjects like environmental justice, ecofeminism, indigenous rights, culture based values, social equity, and the under representation in science, and science history, of women and people of color.  In addition to lecture materials that relate to the above topics, several read-write exercises have been incorporated into the curriculum, including the following examples:

ENVS302 Climate Change Solutions: Currently includes curricula on environmental and climate justice. We explore what climate justice means in terms of Global North vs. Global South nations, protecting vulnerable populations, and inter-generational impacts of climate disruption. We explore the ongoing push from climate activists for including justice issues in our climate response and whether or not the struggle for racial, gender, and economic justice can be separated from the response to climate change.

GEOL305, Water and the Environment: Currently includes curriculum and assignments on environmental and climate justice (broadly), disproportionate impacts and injustices of Hurricane Katrina, injustices and impacts of 1995 Chicago heat wave and current ways that different communities will have to adapt to increased temperatures, the history of the Tijuana River watershed and complex stakeholder interests across 2 nations, global water scarcity with specific examples from India and Kenya.

GEOL496, Water and Climate in the Southwest: Currently includes curricula on power, politics, and economics of virtual watersheds that is mostly socioeconomic focused, but could be expanded to include more specific information on race and class. 

Moving forward, we propose to review syllabi for all courses to identify where these topics are missing or could be strengthened and develop material to fill those gaps. We will also review resources used in each class to identify where a diversity of perspectives is lacking. Our goal is to eventually include racial and social justice, anti-racism, and cultural diversity across the entire GEOL curriculum. We will include a review of our progress and sharing session during at least one Dept. faculty/staff meeting per semester.

Our review and implementation has begun with six courses that were identified as high enrollment and/or having the largest GPA gap between URM and non-URM students. These are listed below with some preliminary ideas on how to transform the curriculum. Ultimately, we will need support from SDSU including experts on DEI and pedagogy to provide strategies that are known to be effective based on current research. A list of options that could be included in courses would be the most helpful (e.g., Add readings from diverse sources, implement a specific type of activity, including specific type of content, add discussions surrounding DEI, etc…). Faculty could then review the list and choose at least one to insert into their current curriculum.

GEOL100, Planet Earth: This course offers several areas for DEI education related to resource equity and environmental justice as they pertain to mining, water resources, disparate carbon footprints, and pollution. Global changes related to fossil fuel use can increase certain natural hazards. issues like drought, and depletion of water resources, can be shown to affect the population disproportionately. Mines, landfills, and environmental toxins have a great impact on underrepresented populations, indigenous people, and those of lower socio-econommic status.  Specific ideas from the current instructor, Kevin Robinson, include a look at the pros and cons of mining, highlighting our need for mining resources with note of mining’s checkered past. In the context of minerals he will include discussion of issues like blood diamonds and other current exploitative mining (e.g. cobalt) in Africa. Mining and pollution continues to have a high impact on indigenous people in many ways. Here at home, Cold war uranium mining in the US disenfranchised, exploited, and caused severe harm to Native Americans (many examples). Various kinds of pollution can be noted as they relate to soil, air and water. Over 500 US superfund locations are located on native lands. 

GEOL200, Geologic Inquiry: This course includes a field trip to the Grand Canyon where topics could include the impacts of historic geologic expeditions on Native American communities (e.g., John Wesley Powell’s Colorado River expedition) and the downplayed knowledge of geology and geography held by Native American tribes prior to these expeditions. The field trip could also seek out indigenous earth scientists to lead part of the field trip, or discuss their research at the campsite.

GEOL303, Natural Disasters: This course could include several examples of natural disasters that disproportionately impact minoritized communities.

GEOL324, Petrology:Some potential topics could include impacts of mining on minoritized communities, and highlighting the work of URM petrologists. 

GEOL306, Structural Geology: This course will identify and use material from sources that reflect diverse voices.

GEOL307, Geophysics and Field Methods: This class already covers the applications of geophysical methods for environmental surveys, but could be expanded to include content on how different environmental sites/issues disproportionately impact minoritized populations. 

GEOL538/638, Notable Historical Earthquakes: This course could link seismic hazard to DEI curricula by incorporating units on housing and fault locations and building codes in tectonically active regions with varied racial and economic demographics.

We will also investigate the possibility of adding a 1 unit class on ethics in the geosciences for all geology and environmental science majors. This class would be offered in the first semester of enrollment for both first time freshmen and transfer students and would serve to build community among students across all demographics. Topics could include various examples of colonialism and environmental justice related to earth and environmental science. This could be done through a college-specific version of GENS 150, which is a three unit version of the First Year Experience seminar that fulfills Area E.

Additionally, we propose that each course syllabus will include a statement on DEI and course climate. We plan to solicit feedback on this from students during the first week of class, and then finalize the statement within the syllabus. We further recognize that field trips and lab exercises which make up an important part of the geology curriculum are not inclusive. We propose to create a field and lab safety plan and template that addresses inequities and provides a framework so all students can have a positive field/lab experience (1, 2, 3).

Goals, Strategies, and Interventions

Goal 1: Increase the representation of URM and women T/TT faculty and lecturers to better match student body demographics. (CoS goal – Representation)

Intervention 1: Use Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) Criteria. Beginning Spring 2021, the department of Geological Sciences will ensure that finalists for faculty positions meet at least three of the BIE criteria.

    Resources needed:
  • Time for search committee to review BIE criteria and generate report.
    Responsibility:
  • The chair of the search committee will be responsible for including the BIE criteria in the job advertisement.
  • The search committee members will be responsible for identifying BIE criteria within the applications.
  • Inclusion representative to provide input to search committee when needed.
  • The search chair will be responsible for submitting the BIE Finalist Candidate form as soon as finalists are selected.
    Assessment: 
  • The BIE review committee will not approve any candidates who do not meet the BIE criteria.

Intervention 2: Require Inclusion Representatives. Beginning with searches in AY2122, the department of Geological Sciences will ensure that search committees have a certified Inclusion Representative.

    Resources needed:
  • Trained external inclusion representatives as needed through the Center for Inclusive Excellence program.
  • For those wishing to serve as internal representatives, time to complete all necessary training.
    Responsibility:
  • The search committee chair will recruit an approved Inclusion Representative.
    Assessment: 
  • Records of Certifications from inclusion representatives to accompany search committee materials.

Intervention 3: Require implicit bias training. Beginning with searches in AY21/22, the Department of Geological Sciences will only approve search committee members who have participated in one of the University’s Equity-Minded Hiring seminars within the last two years.

    Resources needed:
  • This program is funded by the Chief Diversity Officer.
  • Committee members will need to invest two to three hours to complete the basic training (every 2 years).
    Responsibility:
  • The search committee chair is responsible for confirming that all members have participated in the training prior to beginning review of applications.
    Assessment: 
  • All search committee members with implicit bias or equity-minded hiring training completed prior to screening candidate applications, or search will not continue.

Intervention 4: Improve pool proportionality.Beginning with searches in AY21/22, in cases where pool proportionality is not reflective of terminal degree holders within the field, the Department of Geological Sciences will require the search committee to specify actions that have been taken to ensure a representative pool. Documentation of these actions will be provided to the College Diversity Council [The Hiring Guide already requires departments to submit a pool proportionality form to the Office of Faculty and Staff Diversity]. Some actions that could be taken include: advertising across a wide array of professional organizations and conferences; advertising through social media to groups such as GeoLatinas, Black in Geoscience, AAPI in Geoscience; faculty/staff outreach with diverse groups at conferences.

    Resources needed:
  • Funding for searches to advertise widely.
  • Funding/time for faculty/staff to attend and network at larger pool of conferences (i.e., SACNAS)
  • Committee chairs may need training to interpret the data and understand appropriate actions to increase pool proportionality.
    Responsibility:
  • The search committee chair is responsible for submitting the pool proportionality form, and any required documentation, to Faculty and Staff Diversity.
  • Search committee members are responsible for spreading the advertisement widely and attending/working with groups at conferences.
  • Assistance from CIE to interpret data and help identify actions to increase proportionality.
    Assessment: 
  • Percent of URM and women in interview pools compared to available pools based on relevant data (e.g., NSF PhD data for junior hires).

Goal 2: Improve faculty competencies with equity-minded teaching practices and inclusive pedagogies and establish a curriculum that emphasizes the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion (student success)

Intervention 1: (from CoS plan): Encourage participation in professional learning about inclusive practices.

    Resources needed:
  • Trainings are provided by Campus Diversity and other campus units.
  • As these cannot be mandated, incentives could be provided by the unit that offers the training (e.g., summer salary or workload reduction for longer workshop type training, lunch/coffee for short seminars). Ultimately, a modification of RTP criteria to place more value on these types of professional development would help.
    Responsibility:
  • CIE, CTL, ITS and other units to advertise opportunities widely and effectively to all faculty, staff, and TAs.
  • CIE/CTL/ITS to organize and keep up to date a centralized calendar for all trainings posted to the SDSU website. A link to the calendar can easily be included in Departmental correspondence and at Department meetings.
  • The Committee will need a list of trainings and participation in the trainings. Ideally this will be data provided by CIE.
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit an annual report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention, including the number and cumulative percentage of faculty and staff who have participated in trainings as reported by CIE.

Intervention 2: Encourage discussion of inclusive practices.Beginning in AY21/22, the Department of Geological Sciences will set aside time at each department meeting to discuss JEDI initiatives and the pedagogical strategies faculty are employing to support students and close equity gaps.

    Resources needed:
  • Time during faculty meetings.
    Responsibility:
  • Possibly invite CTL/CIE representatives occasionally to discuss strategies and their effectiveness.
  • The department chair will ensure that time is set aside in each department meeting for this discussion.
  • DEI Committee to help facilitate discussions
    Assessment: 
  • Tracking how many courses are implementing strategies and tracking progress of JEDI initiatives within the department.
  • The department will submit an annual report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention.

Intervention 3: Accessible Materials.By the end of AY21/22, the department will establish a process to ensure that all course syllabi, course materials, and department materials (e.g., event flyers, department website) are accessible for individuals with visual or other impairments.

    Resources needed:
  • Faculty and staff will need guidance about how to ensure materials are accessible, working with ITS and CTL staff, or other units as needed.
  • Ideally, templates and instructions for various documents can be provided by ITS/CTL.
  • Reviews of materials by experts in accessibility (ITS/CTL)
  • Time for faculty/staff to update existing materials
  • Potentially a paid student worker to assist with updates to existing materials
    Responsibility:
  • ITS and CTL staff to help assess accessibility of documents and provide templates.
  • The department Diversity Committee will be responsible for proposing a process to the department.
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit a report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention by the end of AY2122.
  • Following the first year, we will review accessibility annually in tandem with the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative yearly audit of the Department website.

Intervention 4: Anti-Racism Across the Curriculum.As a result of the review of existing courses (see section 3 of the plan), the department identified multiple courses that could be re-designed to further advance anti-racism and social justice through revised learning outcomes, new content or materials, or changes in activities and assessments. The changes to our seven targeted courses will be made by the end of AY21/22; if needed, course change proposals will be submitted to the college curriculum committee by the 2022 deadline. By the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester, every GEOL and ENVS course syllabus will include equity/inclusion/diversity issues and contributions among the student learning outcomes.

    Resources needed:
  • Faculty and staff will need guidance from experts in DEI and pedagogy who are up to date on research in these areas to suggest potential interventions.
    • These experts would consult with the department to assess current courses and discuss needs.
    • These experts would provide a list of strategies for faculty to reference and choose from for implementation in their courses.
    • Additional online or printed resources that elaborate on effective ways to include DEI issues in geology courses would also be provided.
  • Time for instructors to research, plan, and implement changes.
    Responsibility:
  • CIE/CTL/CoS to provide expertise to assist with identifying gaps and strategies
  • DEI committee and Department chair to consult with experts and faculty
  • All department instructors, with assistance from DEI committee
  • Geology curriculum committee and DEI committee
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit a report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention.
  • Department chairs and/or curriculum committees (or department-level diversity committees) need to read each syllabus of every course to ensure that this material is included. A report on progress will be submitted to the CoS Diversity Council by the end of Fall 2022.

Intervention 5: Inclusive Field and Lab Activities.We propose to create a department-wide field and lab safety plan and template that addresses inequities, our code of conduct, and provides a framework so all students can have a positive field/lab experience. We will complete the templates in AY21/22 and implement them in all courses by AY22/23.

    Resources needed:
  • Faculty and staff will need guidance about how to make these documents. Some literature resources have already been identified (1, 2, 3).
  • Faculty and staff will also work with SDSU Research Safety specialist Oscar Gomez, to ensure the Department safety plan is compatible with the SDSU Field Research Safety Plans.
    Responsibility:
  • The department Diversity Committee will be responsible for working with staff and instructors to complete these templates and make them available.
  • Each instructor will need to update the templates for their specific courses and send a digital copy to department staff for archiving.
  • Department staff will need to collect and store the plans.
    Assessment: 
  • Department staff will keep a record of which courses have implemented the plans.
  • The department will submit a report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention at the end of AY2122 and AY2123.

Goal 3: Establish an inclusive, anti-racist climate that supports and encourages the advancement of student leaders, staff, and faculty who invite and celebrate diversity. (climate)

Intervention 1: Establish a Department DEI Committee.The Department of Geological Sciences will establish a standing committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by Fall 2021. This group will meet regularly to discuss progress on the goals and interventions established in this Plan (at least twice per semester).

    Resources needed:
  • Committee members will need time to attend meetings and complete any associated tasks.
  • Workload reductions, supplemental salary for committee leadership.
    Responsibility:
  • The department chair will designate a chair to convene the committee.
  • The committee chair will establish a regular schedule of meetings and coordinate the work of the committee.
    Assessment: 
  • Records of DEI committee meetings (minutes/agendas)
  • The committee will submit an annual report to the College Diversity Council detailing activities and progress on implementation of all plan interventions.

Intervention 2: Acquire additional data. Several sets of data are missing from our data analysis in section 2 because they are not readily available. We will work with SDSU to acquire more detailed demographics on gender identity, LGBTQ status, military affiliation, ability status, and how these different identities intersect. By AY22/23, we will also generate surveys for graduating students to acquire data on post-graduation employment status, continuing education, and qualitative data on student experiences throughout their program of study.

    Resources needed:
  • Time to generate surveys (and a survey platform)
  • Data from SDSU
  • Time to compile and review the data
    Responsibility:
  • Graduate and undergraduate advisors will generate surveys with assistance from DEI committee
  • May need external assistance for survey design and implementation (not sure from where, but possibly CIE).
  • SDSU resources for collecting student demographic data.
  • Department staff to assist with storing data.
    Assessment: 
  • The new data will be compiled and tracked through time to help the department modify existing interventions and create new ones. These data will be stored digitally within existing department resources.

Intervention 3: Require implicit bias training for RTP committee.Beginning in AY21/22, the Department of Geological Sciences will require all faculty participating in RTP evaluation to participate in the University’s Implicit Bias training.

    Resources needed:
  • This program is funded by the Chief Diversity Officer.
  • Committee members will need to invest at least two hours to complete the basic training (every 2 years).
    Responsibility:
  • The department chair is responsible for confirming that all those involved in RTP have participated in the training within the last two years, prior to beginning review of files.
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit an annual report to the College Diversity Council detailing implementation of this intervention.

Intervention 4: (from CoS plan): The department will develop a plan to increase student numbers with respect to race and gender.This plan could include:

  • Recruitment through participation in professional organizations (e.g., Association for Women Geoscientists, National Association of Black Geoscientists, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and networks (e.g., Black in Geoscience, Earth Science Women’s Network, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Geoscience), and outreach with student groups, CoS Student Council (CSSC), Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Student Ability Success Center (SASC), by the end of the Fall 2022 semester.
  • Developing a proposal for AGU Bridge Program to be submitted by Oct. 15, 2022 deadline (for graduate students)
  • Re-assessment of admission policies including standardized test requirements
  • Increased funding for graduate students in the form of tuition waivers, scholarships, etc…
  • Improving support for students once admitted (better orientation for graduate students, resource maps, career support, etc…)
    Resources needed:
  • Time to research and develop the plan
    Responsibility:
  • Department DEI committee
  • Undergraduate, graduate, and JDP advisors
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit the plan to the CoS Diversity Council by the end of AY2122

Intervention 5: Develop a resource map for students.This document will be provided to all new students and will include sections on: Important contact information, academic resources (Dept and SDSU), mental health resources, community resources, skills and professional development opportunities, scholarships, fieldwork and equipment resources, career, networking, and internship opportunities, and mechanisms for reporting incidents and grievances.

    Resources needed:
  • Time to research and develop the document
  • Funding to pay geology student worker to assist with compiling resources
    Responsibility:
  • Department DEI committee
  • Undergraduate, graduate, and JDP advisors
    Assessment: 
  • The department will submit the resource map to the CoS Diversity Council by the end of AY2223
  • The resource map will be posted through the department website and Canvas Homerooms.

Intervention 6: Improve DEI of departmental seminars.We will infuse DEI issues throughout our seminar series by asking research seminar speakers to include their DEI work (if they would like to), recruiting diverse speakers, and planning one seminar per semester focused solely on DEI/pedagogy. The DEI seminar could be more generally focused on DEI in STEM and intended for the broader CoS community.

    Resources needed:
  • Funding to invite speakers
  • Funding for cookies/coffee to encourage participation, especially among students
  • Time for faculty/staff to identify and plan seminars
    Responsibility:
  • Department faculty/staff
  • CoS dean’s office for College wide seminars
    Assessment: 
  • The department will keep a list of seminar speakers and topics and look for patterns that show increased DEI over time.

Accountability

Goal Intervention Timeline Responsibility Accountability
1. Representation: Increase the representation of URM and women T/TT faculty and lecturers 1. BIE Criteria FA 2021 Search Chair, Search Committee, Inclusion Rep. Approval of finalist pool BIE through BIE review committee
2. Inclusion Rep FA 2021 CIE, Search Chair Certification Records
3. Implicit Bias Training FA 2021 CIE, Search Chair, Search Committee Training records
4. Pool Proportionality FA 2021 Search Chair, Search Committee %URM & women vs. national data
2. Student Success: Improve faculty competencies with equity-minded teaching practices and inclusive pedagogies 1. Professional Learning AY21/22 CIS/CTL, faculty/staff/TAs Data on participation from CIE/CTL
2. Dept. Meeting Discussions SP 2022 Dept. Chair, DEI committee Annual report on progress including courses/initiatives added
3. Accessible Materials AY 21/22 ITS/CTL, DIE Committee, faculty/staff Annual report and assessment of progress
4. DIE Across curriculum AY 22/23 DIE Committee, curriculum committee Annual report of progress and syllabus review
5. Inclusive field and lab AY 22/23 DIE Committee, faculty/staff Archived plans, annual report
3. Climate: Establish an inclusive, anti-racist climate 1. DEI Committee FA 2021 Dept. Chair, faculty/staff/students Record of meeting minutes, annual report
2. Additional Date AY 22/23 DEI committee, SDSU data collection and archives, grad and undergrad advisors Compiled data
3. RTP committee bias training FA 22 Dept. Chair Annual report
4. Plan to increase student diversity FA 2022 DIE Committee, undergrad/grad/JDP advisors Report submitted to CoS
5. Resource map AY 22/23 DIE Committee, undergrad/grad/JDP advisors Report submitted to CoS, resources posted on website and Canvas homeroom
6. Seminars SP 21 faculty/staff Tracking of seminar speakers