Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


School of Life Sciences DEI task force works across our school, Arizona State University and national networks to develop an inclusive and thriving community that reflects the sociodemographic diversity of our state and nation. The SOLS DEI task force works to ensure that human diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational to decision-making, resource allocation, policies, and practices in support of our academic mission.

About the initiative

In 2020, SOLS students, faculty, and staff worked together to establish the SOLS DEI Initiative, which included appointing a Special Advisor of DEI to the Director and the development of the SOLS DEI Committee. This work was prompted by the death of George Floyd, and the racial reckong that racial violence and discrimination are deeply embedded into our institutions and daily lives. These efforts aspire to transform our institutional structures and culture to one that better supports ASU’s Charter, and fosters inclusion across our SOLS community. 

Acknowledging that this work continues on a daily basis and requires a strong and collaborative commitment from all individuals with the SOLS community. The SOLS DEI Initiative is guided by the following questions:

Since the formation of the SOLS DEI Committee in the Fall of 2020, the Committee has worked to understand the range, scope, and depth of DEI needs and opportunities within the SOLS community, with respect to research, teaching, training, resources, and community belonging.

Throughout 2020-2022 the committee held listening sessions, discussed DEI issues both formally and informally with members of the SOLS community, and with a broader network of ASU stakeholders.

Based on these discussions, the DEI Committee outlined a set of three strategic goals:

Meet the task force

In the Fall of 2022 Nancy Grimm, Regents Professor; Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology; and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist was appointed as Special Advisor to the Director for DEI. 

In December 2022 the SOLS DEI committee was reconfigured into a task force comprising 13 members, which include staff, faculty, graduate students, and postdocs. Each task force member will serve a two-year term. 

Special Advisor to the Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Meet the task force members

Members 2022

  • Austin Blackmon
  • Sara Brownell
  • Adrian Fisher
  • Sharon Hall
  • Yize Li
  • Kate MacCord
  • Maneesha Muralinath
  • Janet Neisewander
  • Mehreen Tahir
  • Arvind Varsani

Members 2021

  • Gro Amdam
  • Sara Brownell
  • Nde Bassin Jobe
  • Joshua Caulkins
  • Kelle Dhein
  • Laureano Gherardi Arbizu
  • Sharon Hall
  • Kate MacCord
  • John McCutcheon
  • Janet Neisewander
  • Arvind Varsani


Sharon Hall holding Kangaroo rat

School of Life Sciences awarded JEDI seed grants for inclusive STEM education initiatives

The School of Life Sciences, with others across The College, were awarded $9,550 for their interdisciplinary proposal “Natural Sciences INCLUsion DEpartmental (INCLUDES) Training Program,” and $10,000 for their proposal “RISE Teams: Improving Undergraduate Outcomes in Biology using Research for Inclusive STEM Education (RISE) Best-Practices.” These targeted initiatives will improve student outcomes in biology and STEM through inclusive curriculum, teaching and mentorship.

Natural history Collections

ASU center awarded JEDI seed grant to establish biocollections scholars program

The Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center was awarded $10,000 for their proposal, “Biocollections JEDI Research Fellowship: Facilitating Equity and Inclusivity in Human-Nature Connections.” Scholars will complete a six-week summer research training experience, which will include a collaborative, curation-based research project and rotations between the core specialties of botany, entomology, vertebrate zoology and bioinformatics.

Zoom meeting

ASU faculty discuss equity and inclusion in STEM at virtual event

The College hosted a virtual screening and discussion of “Picture a Scientist” — a documentary film that chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for female scientists. The livestreamed discussion was led by Nancy Gonzales, provost pro tempore and outgoing dean of natural sciences, and Raychelle Burks, professor of analytical chemistry at American University in Washington, D.C., and one of the scientists featured in the documentary.


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Centers, initiatives and programs

Stay tuned to learn more about how to get involved in JEDI programs and initiatives across the School of Life Sciences and ASU, including training programs, inclusive teaching fellowships, and national research opportunities.

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Upcoming Events

Save the date for the JEDI/HMMI retreat, coming up on April 9 and 23! We also hope you’ll join us for listening sessions, discussions, and seminars. Full list coming soon!

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Additional resources

We’ve compiling a set of resources for additional learning, perspective, support and involvement - both in and outside the ASU community. We will continue to update our spreadsheet, so continue to check back for latest book recommendations, article links and more!