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Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)

 

The JEDI committee was formed during the summer of 2020 to identify concrete actions that our department can take to promote a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse department, university, and society. Current membership includes faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates, and the committee welcomes any department members who wish to join.

The goals of this committee are to strengthen diversity and inclusion in our department and in the wider community in conjunction with our mission as educators and researchers. We are particularly concerned with what we as linguists can contribute to areas where beliefs and attitudes concerning linguistic diversity intersect with issues of inclusiveness and social justice. 

  • Develop a survey to collect data on department demographics as well as department members’ perceptions of the level of success of the department and the university  in fostering a climate of inclusivity and respect and of the areas that need improvement.  The survey will provide a basis for an action plan to address areas of concern identified by department members.
  • Ensure that departmental colloquia include a diverse set of speakers and provide a list of suggested speakers with expertise in areas connected to issues of diversity and inclusion.
  • Organize reading groups to discuss papers, videos, talks, and workshops related to issues of language and social justice.  
  • Organize departmental workshops on topics such as implicit bias (for example, in recommendation letters and evaluations of teaching and research) or strategies that promote inclusive teaching and mentoring. The purpose of these workshops will be to present relevant research findings and to promote ongoing discussions among department members.
  • Compile and post on the department website a list of resources as well as a list of individuals in the department that students can approach if they feel that they have had a problem related to ethnicity, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
  • Compile optional diversity-related questions for instructors to include in course evaluations and sample statements on diversity to be included in syllabi.
  • Examine our curricula to determine how effectively they educate our students about the connections between language and power--specifically, the evidence that what constitutes the prestige form of a language is a function of power inequalities rather than of inherent linguistic properties. 
  • Expand the component of teaching-focused mentoring in our doctoral program, recognizing that  students from less privileged backgrounds are particularly in need of skilled pedagogy.