Our Statement on Diversity

We are deeply committed to encouraging, promoting, supporting, and sustaining an inclusive environment of a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students.  As part of this commitment, our vision and initiatives are centered around the justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) principles.

  • Justice is an umbrella concept that acknowledges the validity of multiple perspectives; fostering a culture of justice creates opportunities for diverse groups of people to thrive together.
  • Equity ensures everyone has access to the opportunities and resources so that they can thrive. We seek to identify, understand, and transform the social, economic, environmental, and political drivers of structural inequalities and inequities through our pedagogical, professional, and scholarly work.
  • Diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender; however, we embrace a broader definition of diversity that also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexuality, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. We encourage diversity of thought, including ideas, perspectives, and values.
  • Inclusion is the attitude and act of cultivating a positive environment in which diverse individuals and groups feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate.

We believe that it is essential to recognize JEDI in all facets of the work we do (e.g., teaching, mentoring, research, and service) here at UConn and in our external, professional activities.  The Department of Geography works closely with the DEI Initiatives of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at UConn and the American Association of Geographers efforts aimed at broadening JEDI principles.

We also acknowledge that the land on which we gather in the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc, and Lenape Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.  Learn more about UConn land acknowledgment.


Notable JEDI Initiatives

Under these principles, we have made strenuous efforts to improve diversity and inclusion via various departmental programs.  One recent effort is the Diversity in GIS program.  This program, sponsored by the CLAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives, aims to support underrepresented students in GIScience to advance their careers, and at the same time, attempt to close the gender gap and improve diversity in the department and beyond.  In 2022-23, two undergraduate and four graduate students are selected as the Diversity in GIS awardees.  These students, all from underrepresented groups, are supported with research grants and one-on-one mentorship opportunities to develop research projects.  They are also provided with exclusive opportunities to showcase their projects and network with professionals at various university events (e.g., Earth Cafe).  We expect these JEDI promotion efforts can foster a collaborative and inclusive learning and research environment at UConn.

Our View on Academic Freedoms

The UConn Department of Geography is firmly committed to academic freedom.  We fully support the American Association of Geographers statement regarding the opposition of state-sponsored diversity initiatives and on critical studies of racial inequity across the United States. 

The full AAG statement can be read here:  www.aag.org/aag-statement-on-the-targeting-of-diversity-education-and-critical-inquiry-by-u-s-states .