Strategic Plan

The SEAS Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategic Plan was developed by the SEAS Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. The plan was informed by the results of the SEAS Campus Climate Survey and community discussion sessions.This plan is designed to help SEAS adopt a framework that prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and belonging as central to its excellence. The below recommendations were presented to Dean Doyle in May 2019. We encourage all members of our community to engage in the implementation process. 

Each recommendation identifies a potential timeline for implementation based on the following key: Immediate = 1 to 6 months; Short-term = 7 to 12 months; Medium-term = 1 to 2 years; Long-term = 2 to 5 years. Some of the recommended actions will require immediate and ongoing attention.

Goal 1: Demonstrate an institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging through equitable and inclusive policies, practices, and an infrastructure that supports these initiatives.

1a. Develop and implement a SEAS-wide Community Standards document that outlines behavior consistent with SEAS values and is conducive to a welcoming and inclusive environment. This document, which will be posted throughout SEAS buildings and classrooms, will also outline behaviors that detract from a welcoming and inclusive environment such as intimidating and abusive behavior. (Short-term)

1b. Provide financial support for the resources and staffing needed to implement the SEAS DIB plan.  (Ongoing)

1c. Establish diversity, inclusion, and belonging as strategic fundraising priority of SEAS. (Immediate)

1d. Develop a proactive communication strategy to inform the community of DIB programs and progress, as well as document successes and promising practices. (Immediate)

1e. Provide guidance to administrative offices and academic areas to identify diversity and inclusion goals that align with the goals of the SEAS DIB strategic plan. (Ongoing)

1f. Integrate contribution to diversity, inclusion, and belonging into existing recognition programs to align with the SEAS vision and values (short-term)

1g. Expand the current student DIB grant fund to include staff, faculty, and postdoc initiatives, as well as, individual projects. (Short-term)

Goal 2: Recruit diverse faculty, students, postdoctoral researchers, and staff with special attention given to increasing the number of females and underrepresented minorities within the SEAS community.

2a. For the purpose of diversifying the STEM profession, pursue federal funding and philanthropy to support 1-2 years of post-baccalaureate studies for students that have not had access to resources for graduate school preparation (i.e. advanced courses, research opportunities, etc.). (Medium-term)

2b. Leverage relationships across Harvard to create internal staff mobility opportunities across campus. Strategies can include contacting the Administrative Fellows Program when leadership positions become available, inquiring about individuals ready for promotion in other Schools/units, and identifying internal SEAS talent for open positions. (Short-term)

2c. Implement strategic hiring and recruitment practices based on current human resources and faculty affairs data. For example, examine the hiring process (i.e. application stage, interview stage, job offers, and accepted offer) and implement hiring and recruitment strategies that address the identified gaps and track progress at each stage of the process. (Short-term) 

2d. Create a list of suggested websites and organizations for advertising of faculty, staff, and postdoc positions. (Immediate) 

2e. Provide need based scholarship funding for master’s programs. (Long-term)

2f. For the recruitment of diverse graduate students, postdocs, and faculty, expand SEAS participation in diversity and STEM conferences and advertise where SEAS will be recruiting via the SEAS website and social media pages. For the conferences that collect and share attendee information prior to the conference, reach out to students that have indicated an interest in graduate programs offered by SEAS to schedule a meeting with them. (Immediate) 

2g. Provide a checklist of steps search committees and hiring managers can take to increase the diversity of applicant pools. Follow up with hiring managers and search committees to determine what resources have been utilized and yielded results. (Immediate) 

2h. Implement ongoing mechanisms for identifying women and underrepresented minorities for graduate student, postdoc, and faculty positions in engineering and applied sciences. (Short-term) Tactics may include: Faculty and postdocs serving as judges at poster sessions and conference talks; Faculty and postdocs volunteering to review abstracts for diversity-related STEM conferences; Partnering with institutions recognized by the National Science Foundation as graduating the most minorities that pursue doctoral degrees in engineering  

2i. When a junior faculty search begins or is imminent, departments should contact colleagues at other universities to request the names of women and underrepresented minorities among their current student or recent graduates and postdoctoral fellows.  The most promising women and underrepresented minority candidates should then be contacted and encouraged to apply. Include language on all faculty job postings that encourages women and underrepresented groups to apply. (Immediate)

2j. Expand existing and develop new partnerships with minority-serving institutions and create targeted recruitment initiatives. These partnerships can be either formal or informal. Current examples of formal partnerships are: the MRSEC collaboration with Navajo Technical University, Southern University and A&M College, and Florida A&M University; CIQM collaboration with Howard University, Wellesley College, and Mt. Holyoke College; and a collaboration with Bunker Hill Community College that is supported by multiple NSF grants. Examples of informal partnerships are recruitment trips to University of Maryland Baltimore Country Meyerhoff Program and San Francisco State University; and advertising the SEAS REU Program at minority-serving institutions. Resources and guidance should be provided on how to develop these partnerships. (Ongoing)

2k. Implement a prospective student visitation program for underrepresented groups interested in advanced degrees in STEM. During this event, program participants will have the opportunity to interact with various members of the SEAS community while exploring academic programs leading to a doctoral or master's degree. (Medium-term)

2l. Create a future faculty workshop for graduate students and postdocs from diverse populations. The program will be open to current members of the Harvard STEM community and individuals from other institutions. SEAS can partner with the FAS Office of Postdoc Affairs. Program will provide a professional development opportunity to individuals underrepresented in STEM fields and serve as a recruitment tool for SEAS postdoc and faculty positions. Successful models for such a program are the Rochester Institution of Technology Future Faculty Career Exploration Program and University of Michigan NextProf: Preparing the Next Generation of Scientific and Technological Leaders. (Long-term)

2m. Create a fund to support postdoc positions being posted on diversity-related websites such as (Immediate) 

Goal 3: Reduce/prevent instances of harassment or discrimination based on any aspect of identity; create clear, easily accessible processes for reporting without fear of retaliation.

3a. Create a bias and harassment reporting system and response strategy that addresses situations not currently covered by existing policies and structures. If possible, pursue utilizing the Harvard anonymous hotline system as a mechanism for reporting in lieu of creating a new system. In the advertising of this system, clearly communicate how this differs from Title IX, HR, and other policies. In addition, provide the range of consequences that might arise from engaging harassment, discrimination, or bias. Violations of the Community Standards (see 1a) will also be addressed. (Medium-term)

3b. Provide annual bystander intervention training for all members of the SEAS community that addresses situations of bias, harassment, and discrimination. This training should be tailored to different audiences. It is strongly recommended that senior leaders and area chairs attend. This will be incorporated into the comprehensive training program mentioned in Recommendation 5a. (Medium-term) 
3c. Offer an introductory bystander intervention training for those that are not as familiar with these terms and how they play out in academic environments. (Medium-term) 
3d. Expand the advertisement and dissemination of information related to Title IX, BLGTQ Student Life, Office of Sexual Assault, Prevention & Response, and other diversity focused resources. (Immediate) 

Goal 4: Create a welcoming and inclusive environment where individuals of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences thrive, have a strong sense of belonging, and achieve academic and professional excellence.

4a. Develop an undergraduate bridge program or partner with the math department emerging scholars program. This program would be for first year undergraduate students that have indicated an interest in an SEAS concentration and test into a lower level math course and/or have not had access to engineering concepts prior to college. Students will meet weekly to discuss application of course content to the engineering concentrations and write a research proposal for a summer project. (Long-term)

4b. Increase financial support to student organizations that have existing peer mentoring programs. Connect student organizations to SEAS alumni that can participate in mentoring programs. Meet with student organizations that have a mentoring program to determine the needs. Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering would be a great resource. (Short-term)

4c. Create a DIB event planning resource guide that is available to all members of the community. Provide a checklist of items people should follow when organizing an event that addresses accessibility, catering, and event design. Post on the SEAS website. (Immediate)

4d. Provide events and programming that highlight the concerns and experiences of diverse groups in STEM. (Immediate) 

4e. Provide the option of adding pronouns to the online staff directory. (Immediate) 

4f. Provide the locations of gender inclusive restrooms and lactation rooms on the website. (Immediate) 

4g. Implement teaching, advising, and management strategies that increase sense of belonging, address stereotype threat and imposter syndrome. Provide the training and resources to assist individuals with learning the strategies related to their area. (ongoing)

4h. Recruit URM and women TFs and CAs. Provide best practices to faculty on how to advertise positions. (Immediate)

4i. Include junior-level and senior-level women and underrepresented minority scientists/engineers in every colloquium or speaker series. (Immediate) 


Goal 5: Prepare students, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and staff to engage in intergroup interactions; apply diversity, inclusion, and belonging best practices; and contribute to a safe environment.

5a. Develop comprehensive training opportunities for all members of the SEAS community that addresses various DIB concepts (i.e. bias, privilege, inclusive leadership, gender identity, etc.). This may be a combination of in-house trainings and invited speakers. Special attention should be paid to trainings for senior leadership, area chairs, and search committees. Partner with LInc to provide workshops on inclusive pedagogy and course design for faculty and postdocs. (Medium-term)

5b. Host an October mingling mixer event where all graduate students, faculty, and postdocs are able to meet and familiarize themselves with other SEAS researchers. (Short-term) 

5c. Provide Bok Center Identity Training and inclusive teaching trainings for TFs and CAs. These trainings should address bias, harassment, and discrimination and their responsibility for avoiding this behavior. This training should be mentioned on the TF and CA job applications and strongly encouraged by faculty prior to hiring their teaching staff. (Immediate)

Goal 6: Develop metrics to assess and report School climate, demographics, and progress toward diversity, inclusion, and belonging goals.

6a. Administer the SEAS DIB Climate survey every 3 years (Medium-term for second survey administration)

6b. Release an annual DIB report that outlines strategic plan progress, DIB successes, challenges, and opportunities. Post the report on the SEAS website. (Immediate)

6d. Convert longitudinal demographic data into an online dashboard that outlines gender and racial composition of students, staff, faculty, and postdocs. Build out the dashboard to include climate survey data. (Medium-term)

6e. Build a robust and complete set of metrics to monitor data relevant to the reporting and evaluation of DIB. (See Appendix for proposed metrics) (Medium-term)

6f. Recommend faculty add customized course climate questions to the Q evaluation (examples of questions can be provided). Offer support to faculty to review the responses and develop inclusive pedagogy strategies. Design questions to align with the inclusive pedagogy practices that are covered in trainings offered (see Goal 5, Recommendation A & B). These questions can also be used on a mid-semester feedback form to allow open conversation with students and make informed mid-course changes if needed. (Immediate) 

6g. Track senior survey concepts by race, gender identity, and first generation status. The senior survey asks questions related to satisfaction with advising and concentration, access to internship and job placement, etc. (Immediate)

Goal 7: Improve disability equity and inclusion at SEAS through inclusive instruction practices and increased resources.

7a. Identify/allocate additional resources to support faculty in handling accommodations requests. (Immediate)

7b. Ensure there is inclusive and welcoming signage throughout all SEAS buildings to improve wayfinding and accessibility. (Short-term)

7c. Advertise all spaces that have assisted listening devices on the website and room booking system and install proper signage in those spaces. (Short-term)

7d. Provide guidance on designing accessible events and environments. (Immediate)

7e. Create an accessibility grant fund to support resources needed to increase accessibility at events and in research labs. This fund is to be used when an existing grant or other institutional funding will not cover the accommodation. This may include hiring an interpreter, transcription to live steam an event, or materials in a lab. (Medium-term)

Goal 8: Expand outreach programs and initiatives to engage the Cambridge and Allston communities in STEM education.

8a. Create an annual SEAS Service day open to all members of the community. (Immediate)

8b. Sponsor a hackathon challenge related to Allston, DIB, and/or STEM education (the challenge will be a part of one of the existing Harvard hackathon events such as MakeHarvard or HackHarvard) (Short-term)  

8c. Increase financial and staff resources for existing community outreach initiatives led by K. Hollar. Hiring a staff member dedicated to developing K-12 programming would enable the expansion of cohort model programs for women, URM, and first generation students. (Long-term)

8d. Develop a program that recognizes STEM educators that have contributed to the mentoring and success of current SEAS PhD students. This program should include an opportunity to provide a workshop for Cambridge and Allston K-12 STEM teachers. (Long-term)