Director: Jenny Munson, Ph.D.
From Dr. Munson:
The Munson Lab does not tolerate racism, sexism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, or any other form of bias, discrimination, or prejudice. We strive to create a community of inclusion and equity that values transparency and communication at all levels. In order to establish this community, it requires everyone to actively engage in anti-bias behavior. One of my major goals as your PI is to facilitate and foster the careers of a diverse group of scientists and engineers. An environment of inclusion and diversity is absolutely necessary to foster the creativity, growth, and motivation that is required to do the best science and train the best scientists. I cannot and will not abide any incident of bias that would prevent anyone from pursuing their passion and being successful. No one’s abilities and goals should be stifled by the established “norms” that exist within the broader scientific and engineering community. Thus, we all must work to do this. However, pushing or eliminating long-established boundaries takes work and can often result in interpersonal difficulties as individuals grow and learn. My commitments:
Each month, I will devote one lab meeting to engage in a specific activity/discussion that promotes our communal understanding of bias and discrimination. The specifics of the discussion will be voted upon by the group, unless a pressing need has been identified.
I will support each member of the lab to present at a diversity-oriented conference of their choosing. For a list of these events, please see below. This conference may have to be local or virtual depending on funding availability and timing.
I will deal with any incident of bias or discrimination directly if it occurs within the lab, involves lab members, or in the context of a lab-sanctioned activity or effort (i.e. during travel, collaborations, outreach events, etc.). Any first-time offenders will be asked to take training. Further offenses may be grounds for dismissal. If you do not feel comfortable coming to me, then other resources are provided (below).
4. If you report things that are outside of the lab or involve people outside of the lab (collaborators, students of
collaborators, other departmental faculty/students/staff, etc.),
I will do my best to navigate resources with you and help to resolve it.
5. Include diversity and inclusion as an element of your annual reviews and discuss this one-on-one. You must engage in one event/training/reading/online lecture per year on your own (meaning, not just item 1) and report back about it to the laboratory to receive a satisfactory score. The form of reporting back is open.
6. I will continue to educate myself through training, reading, listening, and engaging and I will communicate my activities with you all. I will also strive to disseminate opportunities in an unbiased manner.
From the lab in whole:
As a whole, we, the Munson Lab, are intolerant of bias and discrimination as listed at left along with any other incident that infringes on the equity and inclusion of others. We pledge to uphold any and all goals and missions committed to these efforts during our tenure in the lab and beyond. Our commitments:
Participate with an open mind in all activities, training, and events. You do not have to talk if you are not comfortable, but your presence is important.
Be an ally, advocate, and accomplice! If you see something, say something. Speak up at the moment (bystander training) or speak to someone senior (Dr. Munson) if needed (power dynamics). Advocate for your peers ensuring that opportunities are afforded to all and credit is given where it is due.
Be compassionate and patient with each other. Growing and learning is a process and not everyone will enter the lab with the same experiences. Being compassionate with people who have different backgrounds is important to engaging in dialogues. Shutting people out does not allow for growth and is not inclusive. Do not assume that silence is complacency, many individuals struggle with many issues and intersectionalities and often need to work things out in different ways. Do not assume that others have malicious intent and be slow to take offense and hear others out respectfully. Determining how to speak and discuss issues that may be uncomfortable is difficult. That’s why there are multiple ways to engage outlined here because everyone will be entering into our group with differing levels of pre-acquired knowledge about inclusion and diversity.
Engage with me. If I do something, say something offensive or am misinformed, please tell me. I am not above any of these offenses and I am not perfect, however, I am constantly striving to learn and be better. Please be open with me. Also, express your needs with me, and if comfortable, share your experiences. To best mentor you and help you succeed, I have to understand who you are and where you are coming from along with where you want to go.
Be an active participant in your own growth and education. If you find a new course or resource, share it. If you want to do something new, ask! If a certain type of activity or discussion resonates with you or there’s an issue you want to draw attention to, do it! I alone cannot drive this as I have my own biases that may overlook your own needs.