Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


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Advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in research


In nurturing a community in which everyone feels they belong, applying an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens to research is critically important.

Mercedes Ward  •  November 23, 2021

The University of Utah research community includes many researchers who apply an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens to their work, often through action-oriented research designed to drive social change. Some of this research involves institutional self-study, meaning that it is designed to examine our campus community and identify ways to create a more inclusive and equitable learning and working environment. In nurturing a research community in which everyone feels they belong, researchers enact the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, while drawing on evidence-based insights for best practices for doing so.

Applying an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens to research also means reflecting on equitable, diverse, and inclusive considerations both in and through research.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion through research includes efforts by scholars to understand the factors contributing to disparities (in education, health, wealth, etc.) – as well as to identify effective interventions to overcome them or systemic changes to eliminate them. This research may examine these issues in communities at local, state, national, and global levels. Without an intentional consideration of how groups might be differentially impacted by policies and (in)actions, these inequities can too easily remain unchallenged and unaddressed.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion through research also includes using the analytical strengths of different disciplines in a collaborative way to engage in institutional self-study that informs changes in programs, policies, practices, and cultures such that an inclusive and equitable campus climate flourishes. Indeed, turning a research lens onto the campus community itself can be a powerful way to understand and address the challenges being faced by different units and groups.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion in research considers how to ensure an inclusive and equitable research climate at each unit level across an institution as well as within national and international research networks and disciplinary associations. There are resources available on the University of Utah campus through both the Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE) and Research Education (REd) that faculty can turn to for support on revising their teaching pedagogies and research mentoring approaches to be more inclusive of students from underrepresented and marginalized groups. The Office of the Vice President for Research has, in partnership with university leadership, launched several programs to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion within the U research community.

By adopting these approaches, researchers can enhance their application of an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens. And for those who seek to be agents of change within the campus research community, there are opportunities to lead externally funded teams to create new initiatives on campus. These initiatives might seek to broaden participation in research and/or revise policies to support a more inclusive and equitable research culture. Moreover, each such initiative itself becomes an opportunity to test the underlying theories that shaped the program’s design and predicted its outcomes. This presents an incredible opportunity to leverage the university’s diverse research strengths in new, collaborative, interdisciplinary ways.

To learn more about how to include equity, diversity, and inclusion in your research, please visit research.utah.edu.

Dr. Mercedes Ward (she/her) is the grant development specialist for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Office of the Vice President for Research. In this pivotal role, Dr. Ward nurtures alliances between and among faculty, funding agencies, and communities to develop goals and implementation plans for the institutional equity, diversity, and inclusion research portfolio.

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