Division of Biology and Medicine
Biology Undergraduate Education

Diversity & Inclusion

The Program in Biology is committed to strengthening diversity and inclusion among our staff, students, and faculty. Our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) is aligned with the University's overall set of concrete actions and available for download from Brown’s Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity.

Dean Smith serves as Chair of the Program in Biology Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan. She welcomes conversation by email or in person with students, staff and faculty. Appointments may be scheduled with Lianne Desrosiers or by emailing Dean Smith directly. 

The Office Institutional Equity and Diversity maintains an Incident Reporting system for all members of the community.

Below are a few of the Biology DIAP activities of interest to our undergraduates.

Fostering Community

Biology Dept. Research Informational Events - These events, taking place in late Oct./early Nov., are hosted by each of the major biology departments with the goal of introducing students to biology research opportunities at Brown. These events are a great opportunity for first and second year students to interact with faculty outside of the classroom, see the inner-workings of labs, and meet older students working on independent study and thesis projects. Visit our news page for a listing of this year's events!

BioWeek is a week-long event from late October to early November devoted to celebrating Brown's Biology community and supplying students with useful concentration info, tips for strategic course planning, and a view of what careers your future may hold.

Biology’s Peer-Advising Program was recently launched to foster a stronger sense of community among our students. Peer advising offers first and second year students a way to broaden their mentor network, and provides juniors and seniors a way to give back. 

Hidden Curriculum Lunches - During spring semester Dean Smith hosts informal lunches to talk with students about the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons college has to offer. Topics include Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, managing stress in STEM, first gen college experiences, grit & resilience, and more.

Diversity in the Curriculum

The Program in Biology offers 15 courses that address issues of diversity including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, inequality, and other related areas of inquiry as relevant to topics and careers in the biological sciences. These courses are designated with DIV on our course offerings page.

From Anatomy to Zoology, a comprehensive look at all the course offerings in the biology program.

Living Biology at Brown and Beyond (BIOL 0100) is a new first-year seminar for historically underrepresented students taught by Dean Smith. LivBio has three goals: 1) introduce students to the people, projects, and opportunities in Biology at Brown, 2) foster and cultivate student STEM identities and interests, 3) arm students with personal, professional and academic skills to help them succeed in Biology at Brown (and beyond). Students will visit faculty research labs, learn novel lab skills, engage in active research talks from Professors, read and discuss timely books like ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’, and more.

Brown recently launched a new Research Course branch of the Brown Learning Collaborative, a collaboration between the Sheridan Center and the HHMI funded initiative, "Innovation in Gateway STEM Courses". The goal is to develop a series of programs for faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows that will support development of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (often called "CUREs") in STEM and the social sciences. CURE courses are a part of the broader scope of available COEX (Collaborative Research and Scholarly Experiences) courses. These courses are designated with COEX and can be found on our course offerings page.

Brown – HHMI Gateway STEM Course Initiative - The goal of this program is to use well established teaching methods that broaden participation and increase retention in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. The HHMI award has helped us renovate our teaching space to support student centered learning, develop new inquiry based courses, and train our faculty in inclusive teaching.

Highlighting Diversity in Neuroscience through Course Content

This recent article, from Department of Neuroscience faculty Monica Linden and Brown students Jane Kruskop and Eva Kitlen, appeared in a recent edition of The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education.