Diversity

The CMB Program is committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s goals regarding diversity and inclusive excellence:

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW–Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin–Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background — people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

CMB’s Efforts to Improve Diversity and Inclusion within the Program

  • CMB strives to promote diversity in admissions. In light of the fact that standardized test scores have been shown to be significantly skewed to the disadvantage of women, students from underrepresented minority groups in STEM, and students of lower socioeconomic status, in 2018 CMB eliminated the GRE admissions requirement. In addition, in 2020, CMB adjusted its fee waiver policy to make it easier for underrepresented minorities to apply to CMB. Also, CMB Admissions Committee members participate in a workshop on unconscious biases in hiring/admissions.
  • CMB tracks and reports admissions statistics, including the number and percentage of applications from underrepresented students.
  • For 10 years, CMB was actively involved in the Biosciences Opportunities (BOPs) preview weekend program until it was discontinued. This past year, CMB joined two other graduate programs to propose the Bioscience Initiative for Recruiting and Networking (BIRN). The BIRN program strives to connect UW-Madison bioscience faculty, staff, and graduate students with faculty, advisors, and prospective underrepresented minority students from other institutions and/or geographic areas, and was funded by the Graduate School starting in 2019-2020.
  • CMB funds attendance at annual minority student recruiting conferences such as the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) for a combination of staff, current students, and faculty each year.
  • The CMB Program continues to partner with the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program (formerly known as IBS-SRP) to bring highly qualified undergraduate students to conduct research for a summer and expose them to the CMB Program and the bioscience community. The CMB Program Chair is the Co-Director of the program and leads weekly meetings with these summer students. The program hosts 50 URM students each summer, about 10 of which are in the CMB subgroup.
  • Each fall, the CMB Program partners with WISCIENCE to offer a popular faculty mentoring workshop to new CMB faculty members. The workshop is required of continuing CMB faculty members every five years. At the workshop, faculty are encouraged to think about working with graduate students with a range of backgrounds and learning and working styles.
  • During orientation, incoming students attend a workshop titled “Social Justice and You: Understanding Your Role in Building a More Inclusive Campus.” CMB plans to offer a follow-up workshop in the spring.
  • In 2019, CMB conducted a climate survey to assess climate among students. View the climate survey results here.
  • In addition, the UW-Madison Graduate School provides resources and opportunities such as Inclusion and Engagement events, the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, and the SciMed GRS fellowship program, which holds events available to all students. CMB regularly nominates students for the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society and the SciMed GRS fellowship.
  • During the summer of 2020, CMB held a number of forums with CMB students with the goal of making the program more equitable and positioning the program as an actively anti-racist organization. One of the outcomes of the meetings was the creation of a new CMB Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, which will lead additional diversity efforts (see below for more information).
  • CMB is working on designing an anonymous reporting tool for students to report incidents of bias. The Dean of Students also has a Bias Incident Reporting tool.
  • View other diversity and inclusion resources for current students.

CMB Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee (DEIC)

Starting in the summer of 2020, students in the Cellular & Molecular Biology (CMB) Program have been working to address issues of systemic racism at UW-Madison and to find ways to improve support structures for students and leverage the program’s influence to call for broader, university-wide changes. The students hope that these changes will provide a foundation to promote equity within the program and to start a broader dialogue within the CMB community, as well as with other graduate programs. We have held several forums with the students and a program-wide town hall, and we are working on creating a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee (DEIC) within the program. Updates about the DEIC’s work will be posted here.