Diversity Initiatives

The Division is committed to providing an environment in which inclusion and equity are fostered, which we believe to be the main pillars of a community that values diversity. We take active steps to increase the pool of underrepresented minorities and women candidates among our faculty and student body and participate in initiatives aimed at promoting the next generation of scientists in our discipline.

      Faculty Initiatives

      We are committed to a comprehensive, integrated program to embrace diversity and inclusion through all our recruitment and hiring practices. To increase the pool of underrepresented minorities and women candidates among biology faculty, the Division faculty

      • proactively identify and invite underrepresented minorities and women scientists and educators to participate in our Divisional seminar series.
      • engage in social networks and professional organizations developed for women and minority scholars.
      • participate as members of minority affairs committees for our various disciplinary societies.
      • develop relationships with faculty at other institutions that produce URM doctoral and postdoctoral fellows to share information about and track potential candidates early in their graduate and postdoctoral careers and guide those candidates toward academia at MU or the partner institution.

      As we recruit new faculty, we seek individuals who will contribute significantly to that culture. In addition, our hiring practices use a “blinded” review in the early stages to reduce implicit and explicit bias.

      Postdoctoral Initiatives

      The Preparing Future Faculty for Inclusive Excellence (PFFIE) postdoctoral program is designed to promote and develop scholars for tenure-track faculty positions at the University of Missouri or elsewhere, in any discipline. Current and former PFFFD Scholars hosted by the Division of Biological Sciences are

      • Dr. Allison Roth, 2023-present
      • Dr. Justin Van Goor, 2023-present
      • Dr. Johana Goyes Vallejos, 2021-2023
        Currently: Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
      • Dr. Gaurav Kandlikar, 2021-2023
        Currently, Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University
      • Dr. Natalie Downer, 2014-2015
        Currently Associate Director of the McNair Scholars Program and Assistant Teaching Professor of 
        Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
      Graduate Student Initiatives

      We are active in organizations that bring more people to science and support those in STEM programs, including the:

      • Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES)
      • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
      • Blacks in Higher Education

      The Division also supports and has been heavily involved in designing and implementing programs aimed at increasing the representation and retention of people of color and women in STEM, including the

      • National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM)
      • NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Scholars.
      Postbaccalaureate Initiatives

      The Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) provides post-baccalaureate training to eligible underserved, underrepresented, and other disadvantaged students with a passion for science. Through PREP, the scholars are prepared to apply for and succeed in PhD programs in the biomedical sciences. More than 75% of our MU PREP Scholars have been accepted into prestigious Ph.D. programs and more than 90% of those have received their Ph.D. or are on track to receive their Ph.D.

      Undergraduate Initiatives

      The McNair Scholars Program provides enriching experiences that prepare eligible students for doctoral study. Scholars receive a stipend to conduct research in the area in which they want to pursue graduate study as well as attend professional conferences, receive guidance on the graduate school application process, and more.

      Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) / Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) Program aims to identify and train the next generation of research leaders and innovators in biomedical and behavioral sciences. It is a comprehensive program that integrates research, mentoring, academic and social support, and professional development that prepares participants to matriculate into graduate biomedical doctoral and medical/doctoral programs.

      THRIVE, or “Transforming Natural Sciences at Mizzou: Retain, Belong, Lead, and THRIVE”, is a 5-year program aimed at fostering a more inclusive environment in the natural sciences. The project, which is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, supports the development of faculty learning communities, reflective data, video interventions, and a resource library for inclusive teaching and mentoring, among other resources. It also is aims to improve the retention of undergraduate students through peer, leadership development, and extracurricular programming focused on inclusion, diversity and equity.

      GK12 and Community Outreach

      Our faculty, graduate students, and staff are committed to promoting science in the community and to our schools. They coordinate and/or participate in a number of outreach initiatives including Science on Wheels, Saturday Morning Science, Science on Tap, South Farm Showcase, Skype with a Scientist, Columbia Young Scientists Fair, Science Café Columbia, and Army Ants, among others. We also currently have faculty designing GK-12 science curricula and lessons on phenomics and bacteria resistance, among other topics.