Applied Mathematics

Winter 2022

As we kick off the Spring 2022 semester, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee would like to share some of what we are working on.

We are pleased to introduce this newsletter as a way of communicating about our work to the Brown Applied Math community, and we hope that by knowing more about what we are up to, you will find ways to participate in this work too.

A Recent History of the Committee

First, we want to acknowledge the leadership of Jose Celaya-Alcala, Rebecca Santorella, and Daniel Solano, who worked diligently starting in the summer of 2020 to bring the graduate student Call to Action to the work of the committee.

In Spring 2021, the committee consisted of Bjorn Sandstede (chair), Giorgio Cocomello, Stu Geman, Candida Hall, Rebecca Santorella, Daniel Solano, and Rosanna Wertheimer. The committee also included three undergraduate students: Sahdiah Cox, Emma Dennis-Knieriem, and Emma McFall. We worked hard to organize, shape, and prioritize our goals, objectives, projects, and tasks with a particular focus on the goals of Fostering Community, Increasing Diversity, and Raising Awareness.

In Fall 2021, we bid a fond farewell to Rebecca, Daniel, and Stu, and we happily welcomed Teressa Chambers, Johnny Guzman, and Moyi Tian to the committee. We got a late start, but we have a lot of new energy for our work! In Spring 2022, John Guzman is on sabbatical but Stu Geman will be rejoining the committee. We also plan to include undergraduates again.

 

Spring 2022 Priorities

Workshops

In Spring 2022, we plan to offer workshops on mentoring/advising for both faculty and graduate students. We are consulting with Alycia Mosley Austin, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the Graduate School, about the content and structure of the workshops, and she will likely lead some or all of the components.

We also plan to offer a workshop on Difficult Conversations led by the University Ombudsperson, Julie Weber.

Addressing Climate Issues 

(organizational climate…not global warming!)

In November, Bjorn Sandstede communicated to the APMA community about the outcome of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) climate review and report. He also met with faculty, graduate students, and staff in separate forums to discuss the report. 

We are continuing to work with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) on these issues. OIED proposed to conduct a climate assessment for the department as the next step before helping us identify areas of focus.

We are also planning a Town Hall meeting with graduate students to discuss the results of the 2020 climate survey conducted by the graduate school and share how our committee is measuring progress.

DIAP Phase 2

We are eagerly waiting for further guidance from OIED about the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, Phase 2. We anticipate that we will be updating our departmental plan this semester. Our 2016 Plan was ambitious but not terribly functional. We look forward to developing a plan that can be a more useful guide for our work.

Ways to Get Involved

We Want Your Input

We will be seeking broad-based input from the APMA community on the following topics this semester:

  • Graduate Student Recruiting

  • TA Training

  • Mentoring/Advising

In particular, we need your thoughts about recruiting ASAP. Acceptance letters went out in January, and next year’s graduate student cohort are considering our offers. What best practices do you recommend? What types of things should we not do? Please share your ideas in this Google form.

In addition, the Division is conducting a program review of both the undergraduate and graduate programs over the next 18 months, and there will be opportunities to contribute your thoughts and ideas. 

Going forward, we want to encourage more direct participation in DEI initiatives from the APMA community. If you want to be kept in the loop about specific ways to get involved, please let us know through this short survey

As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions, and feedback via our comment box.

 

Accomplishments 2021

Despite the pandemic, diversity and inclusion work is happening in Applied Math. Some highlights:

  • Celebrated Black and Women’s History months by highlighting African-Americans and Women in the field of Applied Mathematics and featuring trivia questions & prizes.

  • Updated Graduate Student Orientation to include DEI topics and campus resources.

  • Held check-in meetings for first- and second-year students with Candy and Rosanna with a focus on non-academic topics

  • Targeted outreach by faculty to minority-serving institutions and at virtual recruiting meetings.

  • Held a virtual recruiting event for the NSF Research Training Grant (RTG) in November.

  • Search in progress for two tenure-track positions. Applications included compelling DEI statements by candidates.