Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Consistent with K-State’s Principles of Community, the Department of Geology affirms the value of human diversity and inclusion for community. We stand united against all forms of discrimination, and we are dedicated to building an inclusive climate that values and champions the contributions, interests and narratives of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, origins, sex, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Our goal is to foster personal and professional growth that leads to the formation of a strong, diverse workforce.

We are committed to supporting and increasing diversity among our students, faculty, and staff in our Department of Geology and our college. Our faculty and students lead outreach events and contribute to programs that increase participation in science of underrepresented groups and first-generation college students. We are also working to improve departmental culture and hiring practices, as well as learn more about how to meet the needs of students with different backgrounds. Through these efforts, we hope to reach our goal of ensuring that a diverse workforce of geologists can help meet the needs of Kansas and beyond. We recognize that a diverse workforce brings new perspectives, a wider talent pool, more innovation and higher productivity to the workplace, being better equipped to address the complex and multi-faceted problems pertaining to the field of geosciences.

Diversity in the Geosciences

The National Science Foundations (NSF) has coordinated a nation-wide effort to increase diversity in the Geosciences. Geosciences have the least racial and ethnic diversity of STEM fields. In 2010, less than 7% of bachelor’s degrees in Geoscience were awarded to URM (NSF, 2013). Underrepresented groups (African American, Hispanics, Asian, Native American, Multi-racial, Pacific Islander) were awarded 15.7% of geoscience bachelor’s degrees, 10% of geoscience master’s degrees, and 6.7% of geoscience doctorates in 2019 (AGI, 2019). Unfortunately, research on this topic shows that there has been little to no improvement over the past four decades in the U.S. (Bernard & Cooperdock, 2018).

Why does diversity and inclusivity matter?

There are many reasons why we should strive to build a diverse community. It is our societal responsibility to attract talents from minority populations, and our professional responsibility to provide skillful professionals to fulfill the deficit of 16,000 projected geoscience posts by 2029 (AGI, 2020). But most importantly, research has shown that diversity enhances creativity, encouraging the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision-making and problem solving (Phillips, 2017); and people also work harder in diverse environments both cognitively and socially, leading to better outcomes. Moreover, a scientific community that is representative of the population as a whole is better suited to serve societal needs (Velasco & Velasco, 2010).

What actions are we taking at K-State’s Geology Department to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging?

The Department of Geology has taken a multidirectional approach to increasing diversity, including:

1) Participation in the NSF GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD) funded program called “Sparks for Change Institute”, which resulted in the development of an action plan to increase the enrollment of Hispanics in the Department;

2) Active participation in the Diversity Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences;

3) Award of an NSF grant (“GeoCAT Workshop”), which aims at developing career paths in the Geosciences for under-represented minorities;

4) Inclusion of DEI activities as service in the Department document, which formally recognizes these activities as part of the promotion and tenure process;

5) Participation in GROW/EXCITE programs developed by KSU Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE), an interdisciplinary program that supports the interests of girls of middle school age in STEM disciplines;

6) Participation in the Antiracism Working Group, responsible for creating and launching the Antiracism webpage;

7) Participation in Alianza, the Latinx Faculty and Staff Alliance;

8) Promotion of diverse individuals in the Geosciences by sharing their scientific profiles monthly via e-mail.

Resources on diversity in the Geosciences

Below you can find links to different resources that pertain to diversity in the geosciences.


Queer voices in Paleontology
New developments in diversity and inclusiveness in geosciences
Why are there so few Hispanic students in geoscience?
Obstacles to the recruitment of minorities into the geosciences: A call to action
Diversity in the Geosciences and Successful Strategies for Increasing Diversity
Increasing diversity in the Geosciences
Focusing on Leadership to Improve Diversity in the Geosciences

Initiatives and reports from professional societies

AGU's A conversation about the racial diversity of geoscience students
AGU's Workshop 1 Recording: Call to Action: Anti-Racism Efforts in the Geosciences
AGU's Workshop 2 Recording: Exploring Challenges to Diversifying Faculty
AGU's Workshop 3 Recording: Effective Strategies for Student Organizing
AGU’s Diversity and Inclusion
AGU's Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2019
Geological Society of America (GSA) Statement on Diversity and challenges
GSA Anti-racism resource guide
GSA 2020 Ethics report
GSA Events Code of Conduct
National Association of Black Geoscientists
Black in Geoscience
The Paleontological Society Statement on Anti-Racism

Other web resources

Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Earth and Environmental Sciences: supporting the success of all students
American Geophysical Union (AGU) Ethics and Equity Center
The Paleontological Society How to be an Anti-Racism Ally
Scientific American’s Black History Month: Making History in the Geosciences


Call for a robust Anti-Racism Plan for the Geosciences
A Call to Action for an Anti-Racist Science Community from Geoscientists of Color: Listen, Act, Lead