EDI Keeping the Momentum
Keeping the Momentum is an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative that aims to bring CBCH together as a collective to develop and implement values, goals and actions to combat institutional racism and promote social justice.
This initiative is organized around five values: Representation, Community Partnership, Effort, Respect, and Mentorship, and each value has associated goals and concrete actions.
Inspired by the protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, CBCH formalized an EDI initiative called “Keeping the Momentum” in June 2020. Dr. Andrea Duran (postdoctoral research scientist and former CBCH research coordinator and lab manager) proposed and is leading a three-phase process (conducted fully remotely due to COVID-19) by which all CBCH faculty and staff were surveyed, and meet weekly to collectively define our Center’s values, EDI goals, and EDI mission statement; the baseline survey included perceptions of the EDI climate of our center (Phase I); in order to propose clearly defined and measurable actions to uphold our values and fulfill our EDI goals (Phase II); and establish our approach to prioritizing and implementing agreed-upon actions (Phase III).
Each phase includes brainstorming sessions, development, and dissemination of an anonymous survey via Qualtrics to assess center-wide agreement/ disagreement with relevant EDI topics and a finalization process. An EDI working group of faculty and staff was established to help complete action items and support meeting activities. Our faculty and staff collective has completed Phase I and is now in Phase II, and we are brainstorming actions to uphold the values and goals outlined in our mission statement.
Our initial experience with Keeping the Momentum has been positive, as evidenced by the broad participation of faculty and staff (~45%) at optional weekly meetings and a good survey response rate (66%) during Phase I. The faculty/staff generated not only viable, but outstanding, suggestions for the EDI Mission Statement, values, and goals. Our baseline climate survey also identified areas for improvement, including low scores on comfort with discussing institutional racism and uncertainty about potential negative consequences of raising one’s voice (e.g., being viewed as unprofessional for pointing out examples of systemic racism).
To partly address discomfort and deepen engagement, we redesigned our meeting format for Phase II to include smaller-group breakout sessions via Zoom to discuss potential actions to address each goal, coupled with a larger group debriefing session. This approach has led to more interactive dialogue and team-building, providing a positive and achievable roadmap toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusivity. In addition to concrete actions for improvement, by prioritizing EDI as a responsibility of all faculty and staff, including dedicated time for this program, Keeping the Momentum has substantial promise for deepening our understanding of long-standing, institutional barriers to EDI within academic research contexts.