The Department of Economics is thrilled to announce the renaming of our Access Committee to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. This group of faculty, staff, and students was founded in 2016 with a general aim to foster an inclusive environment for all community members, especially for students of traditionally underrepresented groups. We seek to recognize the unique barriers and challenges faced by first-generation students and students of color, and to showcase Economics as a lucrative, and valuable field for underrepresented students to pursue.
The Department’s DEI Committee is chaired by Associate Teaching Professor Melissa Knox. Associate Teaching Professor Dennis O’Dea and Assistant Professor Alan Griffith make up the faculty representation on the committee. Economics staff on the committee are Patrick Pineda, Senior Academic Counselor, and Ellen Gregoire, Outreach & Communications Manager. They are joined by Muhamedarifeine Manhsour, Counseling Services Coordinator, from the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity.
In the past few years, the committee has created dedicated quiz sections or quiz section seats in both ECON 200 and 201 for students affiliated with the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. These two sections are commonly taken by students who may have not considered studying economics, and thus offer a platform to speak with students we may not have otherwise seen.
The DEI Committee received a Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant in 2018. The funds were used to hire a student assistant for the dedicated quiz sections, highlighted above, and to organize a combined social event and panel discussion on the experience of people from minority groups in the Economics profession. The panel, called #YouLookLikeAnEconomist took place in the Spring of 2019, and was very successful. Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of the 2020 panel.
Currently, the committee is focused on several projects, including adding a student representative to the committee. As economists, this committee is looking to take a more data centric approach to identify and address areas of need for our students in particular. In addition, the committee will launch the new webpage, which can be found on the Departments website in early February.