The Department aims to create and sustain a scholarly community inclusive and welcoming of all those who seek to better understand politics. While we implement specific, proactive measures to overcome barriers to inclusivity posed by historical and structural inequities, we also foster a general ethos of respect for all viewpoints, especially those that might challenge us in our quest for disciplinary excellence and departmental comity. We seek to promote inclusivity through encouraging diversity of thought and perspective, even and especially when doing so might generate discomfort.  

As political scientists, we understand how differently-situated people are differentially affected by laws, norms, policies, and institutions. We also recognize that those differences in experience are highly correlated with social positions constructed by race, ethnicity, and national origin; gender and sexual orientation; income and social status; age, ability, and professional history/veteran status, among other factors. Therefore, we appreciate that achieving inclusivity and diversity of thought results in part from the diversity of experience that exists among faculty, students, and staff. We are therefore committed to implementing strategies designed to help us achieve inclusivity by recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse faculty, students and staff.

While these strategies must be continually evaluated and adjusted, certain core principles guide our approach. We believe it important to have a comprehensive faculty recruitment strategy  that begins with how we define positions and assess disciplinary excellence, involves active, concerted outreach efforts, and follows through with sustained mentoring and retention programs. While we are concerned with all dimensions of diversity, we particularly recognize the need to hire Black scholars in multiple fields of study as part of a broad, intersectional strategy for recruitment; see our current search priorities here Talent Center: Careers at Pitt. We also understand that the same historical and structural inequities that make explicit attention to inclusivity necessary affect each of us as individuals and as scholars, and we are committed to identifying and addressing such biases in our intellectual and departmental work. One way we do so is through proactive attempts to overcome the effects of biases in our hiring, admissions, and promotion decisions and in our evaluation of scholarly work.  We have established a departmental committee on Equity and Inclusion and members of that committee will work with hiring and graduate admissions committees to improve recruitment processes.  We commit to holding regular implicit bias, anti-racist, and decolonizing the curriculum workshops for faculty and graduate students, and to creating an ombuds mechanism for the Department.

Our commitment to inclusivity through diversity entails that we work, jointly and individually, to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and appreciation and of constructive disagreement in the Department. As colleagues, we commit to uphold and defend academic freedom, to show respect and appreciation for the opinions of others as we exchange and criticize ideas, to acknowledge academic debts, to be professional in our evaluations of one another’s work and of the work of students and staff; to avoid discrimination, harassment, and demeaning behavior; to refuse to tolerate such behavior; and, to respect the privacy of all members of our community.

As teachers, we commit to diversifying our syllabi to include more works by women, Black, and Latinx scholars and voices from other underrepresented groups, which are often overlooked, whenever doing so is consistent with the pedagogical goals of the course and mindful that doing so will often advance the pedagogical goals of a course. We also commit to rethinking how we teach by questioning the construction of knowledge in our discipline and challenging familiar assumptions, concepts, measures, ideologies, and values.  We pledge to make our classrooms more inclusive by using examples in our teaching that are respectful and illustrative of a variety of life experiences, to promoting gender balance in class discussions, and more generally to enabling classroom participation from all students.  We will also work to identify Black and Latinx students and students from other underrepresented and minoritized groups who show promise as scholars and to encourage them to pursue and achieve their scholarly and professional goals. 

(This statement was approved by the faculty of the Department of Political Science on September 16, 2020. We gratefully acknowledge our reliance on the best practices shared by the Dept. of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder.)