Diversity in the UCSB Department of Physics
"Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another."---Mary Catherine Bateson
The UCSB Physics Department is firmly committed to improving the diversity of its faculty and students, in the belief that a rich plurality of outlooks and backgrounds is vital to our growth as physicists and to our participation in an increasingly diverse society. Broadening the available talent pool, and drawing from a wider range of perspectives, is absolutely essential in our drive towards excellence.
Science in the 21st century is a highly international, collaborative activity that uniquely bridges traditional cultural boundaries, and this should be reflected in our own Department. Access to the tremendous excitement and successes of modern physics--discoveries which have fundamentally transformed society--should only be limited by one's curiosity, desire, and ability to work hard.
To this end, we have undertaken multiple initiatives toward raising awareness of the need for diversity, and creating a warm and welcoming climate for all human beings in the Department of Physics. We strive for balance and inclusiveness in our approach to recruiting and retention, curriculum, and academic atmosphere.
Results of the Spring 2019 Climate Survey
Results of the Summer 2020 Climate Survey are being analyzed and will be available soon.
Recent departmental initiatives aimed at strengthening the diversity of the departmental community and fostering an inclusive climate include
- Introducing paid undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) to both lower- and upper-division courses, cognizant of research demonstrating improved outcomes for under-represented minorities in LA-based courses.
- Moving graduate admissions to a holistic evaluation model and introducing a Diversity Chair to the graduate admissions committee to facilitate our commitment to building a diverse graduate program.
- Taking a variety of steps to address climate issues in the PSR, including introducing a code of conduct, introducing PSR fellows, training grad students & PSR fellows, and creating new spaces (such as on the 2nd floor of Broida). Work to address climate issues in the PSR is ongoing.
- Revamping the undergraduate curriculum to better serve students with different levels of preparation. Implementation is expected to begin in the 2021-22 academic year.
- Becoming a member institution of the APS Bridge program. Departmental faculty, with substantial input from graduate students, submitted an application to become a partnership institution in September 2020.
- Participating in the NSF-sponsored Bridge to the Doctorate program.
- Incorporating undergraduate and graduate student representatives into the departmental Climate Committee as of October 2020.
- Introducing an anonymous Comment Form on the departmental webpage to facilitate input.