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Stanford Biosciences students participating in a Black Lives Matter protest, 2015

Biosciences Commitment to Justice and Action

Stanford Biosciences is committed to urgent and sustained action to pursue a just and equitable community. While these actions are centered on addressing historical injustices against the Black community, the reality is that addressing these injustices will have a direct and immediate impact on all members of our community, particularly those from marginalized communities within the Biosciences.

Former Senior Associate Dean Will Talbot convened a series of meetings of Biosciences senior faculty leaders, staff leaders and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) staff to review the list of recommendations from 6/19/20 letter to Stanford University’s President & Provost and to identify actions that can be taken locally within the Biosciences to meet the spirit of the recommendations. Current Senior Associate Dean Sheri Krams has continued the Biosciences commitment to action.

The actions listed here represent a commitment by the Biosciences faculty leadership and the offices which report to the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs – the Office of Graduate Education, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, BioSci Careers  and the Grant Writing Academy. The status of these commitments to action will be updated on a quarterly basis and additional commitments will be added as developed. This is just the beginning.

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Original Biosciences Faculty Statement of Support

Currently Planned Actions

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Support an infrastructure for improved quality of life and well-being for the Black Student & Postdoc community in the Biosciences

  • Make resources available to our community through the Biosciences Centering Black Community Needs living document to educate on structures that enable or maintain racism and inequality, the profound emotional, economic, and personal toll of such structures on individual lives and entire groups of people, and ways in which we must act to undo such structures

  • Encourage small groups to form book/journal clubs within their local department/program communities

  • Support Biosciences student leaders as they develop action plans and resource documents

  • Moderated and/or participated as panelists in 49 town halls and community conversations in Summer and Fall 2020, including offering personal reflections based on lived experiences.

  • Hosted a June 2020 Black Biosciences Community Gathering in collaboration with Black CAPS therapists and Biosciences staff to center Black Biosciences voices

  • Partner with departments and programs across the Biosciences, School of Medicine, and School of Engineering to engage in ongoing, collaborative efforts to challenge and dismantle systemic racism

  • Work with SOM Mental Health Team develop a plan to support the holistic needs of Black trainees and other marginalized groups

  • Provide curated lists of black-owned restaurants and other minority owned local businesses for individuals planning meetings and events across the Biosciences

  • The OGE ADVANCE Summer Institute and Lane Library announced a new Racial Justice Library installation in the Diversity Center of Representation and Empowerment (D-CORE). This new collection of 140 books, 64 of which have been made available online through Stanford Libraries, were purchased from Marcus Books in Oakland.

Document the Biosciences commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion & belonging and review on an annual basis

  • Develop a formal Biosciences strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice to support long-term culture shift across the biosciences; review on an annual basis

  • Host a town hall annually to update Biosciences community on progress towards the strategic plan

Make anti-racist training available for the Biosciences Community

  • Partner with the SOM Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) to identify, evaluate, & develop anti-racist curriculum and curate weekly black history blurbs in School of Medicine communications

  • Evaluate anti-racist education options that will be provided by Stanford University and supplement them with Biosciences focused materials

Solicit grievances and actionable items to address and eliminate racial inequity in the Biosciences

  • Collect anonymous student responses via Padlet to the prompt: What have your experiences of racism, prejudice, discrimination, and/or bias been like at Stanford? Compile and analyze results

  • Utilize results from student responses to educate Biosciences faculty/staff via multiple forums

  • Quarterly check in to collect additional student and postdoc responses to prompt (or related prompts) & report on how previous information has been shared/utilized

  • Advocate for the implementation of a campus-wide climate survey to assess racism, injustice, discrimination, and oppression

  • Evaluate SOM results of university climate survey to be implemented in Spring 2021

Evaluate current reporting processes and explore new mechanisms to improve mistreatment and bias reporting at the School of Medicine

  • Explore mechanisms to improve the process for reporting mistreatment and bias in the School of Medicine

  • As the university makes continued updates to Acts of Intolerance process and recommendations from the SOM Commission on Justice and Equity are released, we will continue to look towards improving processes for reporting mistreatment and bias in the School of Medicine

  • Host a Biosciences town hall for students, postdocs and faculty for university administrators to share the University Acts of Intolerance reporting and SOM reporting mechanisms and how individuals will be held accountable for actions

Encourage and support department and program efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at the local level

  • Invite experts to lead faculty discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Partner with School of Medicine Basic Science department and program chairs to identify faculty diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) liaison(s) (following the example from clinical departments)

  • Convene department/program faculty DEI liaisons on a regular basis to discuss progress, share best practices and work on the development of strategic plans to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Biosciences Faculty Diversity Liaison Program launched in partnership with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and SOM Faculty Development and Diversity.

  • Guide SOM Basic Science departments and programs through the development of personalized strategic diversity recruitment plans via the IDEAL graduate recruitment initiative; Pilot with 3 programs initiated in Fall 2020 (ongoing) and expand to inclusion & belonging plans for current trainees

  • Hold a moderated Town Hall the week of Juneteenth to actively receive feedback on departmental progress on anti-Black racism

  • Ensure that those tasked with leading diversity and inclusion efforts have appropriate education by providing anti-racist and facilitation education and training for Biosciences faculty and staff with DEI related roles and those serve on admissions committees

  • Collect information and share best practices from department and program initiated DEI initiatives

  • Create an appropriate mechanism to share sensitive demographic breakdowns of student data with current students to support their advocacy efforts. Workshop presented on 2/22/21

Address the impact of cultural taxation

  • Create OPA Excellence awards to include recognition for postdocs and faculty who champion diversity, equity and inclusion for the postdoc populations (OGE Awards already exist for students and faculty who support graduate students)

  • Develop mechanism for tracking faculty engagement in diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives via Teaching and Mentoring Academy

  • Develop comprehensive student compensation policy to provide framework for equitably determining when and what type of compensation is appropriate for student effort towards the work of OGE with a focus on addressing cultural taxation

Enhance recruitment of trainees and faculty from marginalized groups

  • As part of the Biosciences strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, document specific efforts and progress towards the existing Biosciences African, Black and Caribbean recruitment initiatives for students

  • Increase publicity regarding existing Senior Associate Dean funding commitment for faculty to attend conferences related to diversity and URM recruitment

  • Expand existing opportunities for students and postdocs from underrepresented backgrounds to attend diversity-focused conferences

  • Expand available education/training on  best practices for mentoring, hiring, and teaching to optimize recruitment and the learning and working environment of those from diverse background

  • PROPEL Postdoctoral Scholars Program launched to recruit and develop a distinguished group of postdoctoral scholars at Stanford to build an inclusive, diverse, and equitable professoriate

  • Implement monthly HBCU newsletter and regular workshops to strengthen connection between Stanford Biosciences and HBCUs

Enhance professional and career development opportunities for Black trainees and trainees from other marginalized groups

  • Build upon existing Hanna Gray Fellowship program offered by the Grant Writing Academy  and expand existing grant support through the Grant Writing Academy for diversity K-awards, diversity supplements, and other diversity focused awards

  • Hired Assistant Director of the Grant Writing Academy who is focusing on JEDI initiatives

  • Diversity grants website launched;

  • Outreach to biosciences graduate student and School of Medicine affinity groups

  • Implement new mentoring and career development programs to support all postdocs to guarantee career readiness as they pursue their careers of choice

  • Develop resources for NIH Diversity Supplements via Grant Writing Academy

  • Expand access to lists of funding opportunities available to those from diverse background via Grant Writing Academy

  • Develop workshops specific for funding available to those from diverse background

  • Recruit postdocs from diverse background into paid Grant Coach positions

  • Expand multi-week Proposal Bootcamp to focused on NIH’s Diversity K Awards

  • Create a new Grant Writing Workshop series in collaboration with the Stanford Black Postdoc Association

  • Expand commitment to broaden outreach with Biosciences departments and programs by creating new Office Hours on Slack in partnership with biosciences affinity groups