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Diversity in Biology

Department Diversity Statement

In the Department of Biology, we continue to strive for an inclusive and welcoming departmental culture that recognizes and encourages individual differences, that fosters the constructive expression of ideas, and that promotes shared values such as intellectual curiosity, creativity, collegiality, and sense of mission. Traditions of inclusivity can only flourish and reach full potential with continued active nourishment and effort, and with a collective sense of responsibility and mission on the part of the entire community. We as a department are committed to the continued development of our diverse and collegial community of people, ideas, and approaches through our missions of research, education, and public outreach.

Code of Conduct

Statement of Document Purpose
The following code of conduct is an expression of our shared values and provides guidance for our interactions with one another. The goal of this document is to improve interactions between all members of the UW Biology community. As we work to align our actions with our values, we encourage members of our community to review this living document regularly.   We assume that all of us are following other University codes & regulations.

Be considerate

  • Treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of their own or another’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, religion, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic background, education background, disability, neurodiversity, military service, veteran status, or role in the department. 
  • Support your colleagues proactively.

Respect the contributions of others

  • Give fair, honest, and equitable consideration to all members of the Biology department. 
  • Work to ensure that opportunities to contribute are equitable. 
  • In discussions, allow space for the dissenting ideas that do not directly discriminate against or harm others.
  • Address disagreements through respectful dialogue. 
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Respect other people’s time. 

Be aware of your position

  • Be mindful of one’s privilege and power differentials with respect to other members of the department, including how your comments may be heard (e.g., identifying an obstacle vs voicing a veto). 
  • Speak from your own viewpoint. Maintain awareness of the limits and gifts of your unique perspectives, positionalities, roles, and communities. 
  • Become more aware of your own implicit biases.

Be open & be curious

  • Be receptive to discussions of ways to improve the work environment and work relationships.
  • Be receptive to discussions that foster empathy and understanding.
  • Be generous in both accepting and giving feedback.
  • Don’t rush to respond, reflect on what is being said. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for more information or further explanation.
  • Don’t disparage others for needing or wanting more information.

Don’t harm

  • Always conduct yourself professionally. Be kind to others. 
  • Harassment and exclusionary behavior aren't acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to, insults, threats of violence, discriminatory jokes, and language, sharing sexually explicit or violent material, personal insults, unwelcome sexual attention, and microaggressions.
  • Respect health and safety policies i.e., covid policies
  • Resist the tendency to use emotional and social retaliation.
  • Acknowledge when harm has been done & attempt to make amends to the person harmed.
  • Discuss ideas (or structures) rather than individuals whenever possible
  • Be aware that our actions, not our intentions, are what affect others.


Spotlight on Community

Román Ramos Báez, UW Biology Graduate Student, and Jennifer Nemhauser, UW Biology Professor, in collaboration with the UW Biology Diversity and Equity Committee and sponsored by the HHMI Gilliam Award, hosted the HHMI Gilliam Seminar Series in 2021-2022. The HHMI Gilliam Seminar Series highlighted research from Black leaders in plant biology. Invited speakers will be sharing a series of talks on their science as well as leading a series of open-ended talks on their experiences in academia.

Diversity & Equity Committee

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Diversity & Equity Committee (DEC) supports these efforts via the following subcommittees:
  1. Codes of Conduct & Conflict Resolution
  2. Faculty Searches
  3. Graduate Recruitment
  4. Summer Book club
  5. Culture Hour

If you would like to contribute to these activities or would like to share your perspectives, please contact Karen E. Petersen, Chair of the Diversity & Equity Committee, at

For additional information about the DEC, including DEC members and DEC subcommittee goals, please visit the Diversity and Equity Committee page.



So that all of us can engage in upcoming faculty searches as ambassadors, bystanders, and representatives, we recommend reviewing the following resources.

In honor of calls to #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM, UW Biology organized a day of anti-racism learning and community building on June 10, 2020.

Note: This page is under active development. Please check back soon.

Date last changed May 23rd, 2023 @ 13:33:58 PDT