Equity, Inclusion, Diversity

As a college, we share in Oregon State University’s aim to create “a climate of inclusion, collaboration and care that appreciates and seeks diversity as a source of enrichment and strength, and is rooted in justice, civility and respect.” Understanding how students currently experience our college’s climate is vital to moving toward this shared vision.

During Spring term 2016, with the Office of Student Success, we launched an initial effort to examine student perspectives on the climate of equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice within our college. Close to a quarter (827) of the college’s 3,361 students responded to an online survey.

Most boldly, the results tell us that as we strive for inclusive excellence, we are not there yet. Although a majority of students reported generally positive experiences in the college, students identifying as a U.S. minority and graduate students reported significantly less positive experiences.

View the full Student Perspectives on Climate in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences report (pdf).

Importantly, these findings provide us with a set of actions for positive change. First among these is the need to better understand the experiences that shape students’ perceptions. Toward that end, we will host a series of focus group discussions to listen to and learn from students. Additionally, we call for the following:

  • Greater integration of equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice content within all CPHHS graduate and undergraduate courses. Beginning with H100, we are working to enhance content around equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice in courses across the college.
  • Establishment of program-level competencies around equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice to ensure accountability. We continue to ask each academic program in our college to develop competencies specific to these areas.
  • Evidence of a greater commitment to equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice through professional development for all staff and faculty. As one step, we are working to arrange college-specific social justice training.
  • Stronger supports for students, particularly those from historically marginalized groups. We are actively seeking ways to empower these students within the academic setting. The Racial Aikido Retreat model seems a promising approach for providing students with tools to actively resist injustice and to take care of themselves within the campus community.
  • Active inclusion of diverse students in membership and leadership roles within the college. Recruitment efforts and a realignment of qualifications for various positions (student council, clubs, peer advisors, etc.) within the college will prioritize increasing access to diverse students.
  • Expanded and inclusive access to high-impact experiences including study abroad, faculty led student research, cultural exchange and experiential learning. Scholarships, realigned qualifications and expansion of options will create pathways to engaging all students in transformative learning experiences.

We are confident that with the above measures in place we can move boldly toward our goal of becoming a place of inclusive excellence where everyone can thrive.


Recent Research and Outreach on Equity and Diversity

U.S. social policies helped keep child poverty rates from climbing during Great Recession

Social policies enacted in the United States during the Great Recession appear to have kept child poverty rates stable during a critical period when such programs were most needed because of a struggling economy, according to a new study by Assistant Professor David Rothwell.


Spring break in Ethiopia: Study abroad trip gives students a global perspective

“Too often, student opportunities to travel abroad replicate the power differentials that have undermined progress in global health equity for years,” Assistant Professor Stephanie Grutzmacher says. “I’m pleased that this trip was different and that the students had a joint professional learning opportunity with colleagues in Ethiopia who are working toward the same goals.


Oregon State partners with Albany InReach Services to learn about Latinas’ experiences with breast cancer screening

Assistant Professor Veronica Irvin's research project – “Latinas’ experience with mobile mammography and bilingual navigation services from screen through follow-up care” – was one of 10 to receive funding this year. This developmental grant allows Veronica and her team to take an in-depth look at Latinas’ experiences through screening with services that help guide the women during the entire process.


Developmentally disabled kids get a little help from their family dog – and a passionate human

They’re said to be man’s best friend and now, four-legged friends of families with a developmentally disabled child are being trained to take on a new, important role. Dogs who complete the Do as I Do (DAID) project become imitation trainers for their human children with the goal of improving physical activity and social well-being in the child. The project is headed by CPHHS Associate Professor Megan MacDonald and College of Agricultural Sciences Assistant Professor Monique Udell.


Expand your understanding and find community.

Connect more deeply with members of the OSU community through cultural celebrations, the cultural resource centers, the Cultural Ambassador Conversant Program and more. With the broad programming at OSU, everyone can discover other cultures and share something from their own.

View Diversity Resources across Oregon State University