Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Racism and discrimination are unacceptable behaviors that have no place in our society. Instead, culture and diversity are the canvas on which progress is created. The freedoms of speech, expression, and choice are essential to individual growth and success. This is why it’s critical to create an environment of inclusivity for every student, faculty member, employee, and visitor. The University of Kansas, Physics & Astronomy department strongly encourages these notions in both belief and practice. We have established nursing zones for new mothers, peer mentorships for graduate students, organizations to promote diversity, organized events to bolster women in science, and much more. 

Whether you’re in the area for business, research, school, or just happenstance – we hope that you stop by and say hello.


Department Organizations and Events

Please note that the following PDF is not ADA compliant. The Physics & Astronomy Department DEI Committee presented a full report (pdf) on the aforementioned information. 

The department is a proud partnership institution of the American Physical Society (APS) Bridge Program. The American Physical Society Bridge Program (APS-BP) is an effort to increase the number of physics PhDs awarded to underrepresented minority (URM) students, defined by the project as African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. The APS-BP has done this by creating sustainable transition (bridge) programs and a national network of doctoral granting institutions that provide substantial mentoring for students to successfully complete PhD programs. For more information, please visit the APS Bridge Program website. For information about the department Bridge Program, please visit the KU Physics & Astronomy Bridge Program website. Our department is now accepting applications through the Bridge Program.

The APS CUWiP 2018 at KU regional conference was a smashing success! Over 150 women physics majors from neighboring states came to KU for CUWiP and participated in many activities and discussions regarding diversity, quality of life, and related issues. For details about the event from January 2018, feel free to visit the KU APS CUWiP website.

The department offers financial support for students to attend NSPB and SACNAS national meetings. Physics & Astronomy graduate students may also apply for funds from the department travel grant once per year. 

The purpose of this organization is to create a space for underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy to socialize with each other and to facilitate friendships and networks among undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, and faculty.

Contact: Mindy Townsend at mtownsend@ku.edu

Women in the department are welcome to join this annual, pot-luck style luncheon. For more information regarding dates and details, please contact physics@ku.edu

Faculty members within the department are members of the AAS Committee for the Status of Women in AstronomyAPS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, and more!

The department hosts several social activities a year to improve departmental inclusivity. Whether it be a picnic, chili cookoff, movie night, or water balloon fight - we aim to make anyone feel welcome.

An ad hoc committee of faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff developed the department code of conduct to promote professional behavior. Please visit the Code of Conduct website for more information.


University Organizations and Events

CAPS Personal Counseling Services can help students with issues related to adjusting to college and other psychological, interpersonal, and family problems. Individual and group sessions are available. More information can be found on the CAPS website.

The Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity (SGD) is an office that manages support services, event programming, training, and academic related resources for students, faculty, and staff at KU. The Center is also a physical lounge space for our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty to feel safe and respected on the KU campus in Lawrence. For more information about the SGD including events & activities, gender inclusive housing, and student organizations, please visit the SGD website.

The ETC provides services, assistance, advocacy and support to campus community members of all genders. They also provide presentations to classes and student organizations on topics related to gender, including, understanding gender/gender equity, healthy relationships, and/or men and masculinities. For more information please visit the ETC website.

GSOC-KU is open to all graduate and professional students who wish to support, collaborate, and serve as allies for the organization and its work across our campus. This is the work of not only addressing the racialized logistics of professionalization, but also dismantling the rooted legacies of white supremacy, queerphobia, sexism, xenophobia, ableism, and economic discrimination across our campus, particularly as these pertain to the well-being of KU graduate students of color. More information is available on the GSOC website. 

The University of Kansas welcomes students from around the world. Currently over 2000 international students from more than 100 countries are studying at KU. ISS provides an experienced immigration advising staff to help answer questions and process paperwork for maintaining legal student immigration status. More information can be found on the ISS website.

The Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the TRIO programs, was established at the University of Kansas in October 1992. It is one of 185 Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Programs nationwide, designed to help ensure that the next generation of American faculty members represents the diversity of our society at large by preparing students from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education for doctoral study. More information is available on the McNair Scholars website.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group is composed of faculty, students, and staff. The group was created to examine instances of discrimination, intolerance, and insensitivity on KU’s campus and to recommend specific actions that can be taken to create an environment where everyone is valued and safe. 

oSTEM stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. oSTEM's purpose is to create a community for LGBTQ students in STEM fields at KU. The main goals of this community are to increase visibility of LGBTQ students within STEM fields, building a network for LGBTQ students with both industrial and academic intentions, as well as create a forum within STEM fields for LGBTQ students to meet, work together, and build lasting friendships. oSTEM is a national organization with chapters in universities across the country including Columbia University, The Ohio State University, University of California Berkeley, and Stanford University. More information is available on the oSTEM at KU website. 

The Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center has many spaces that may be reserved Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm, and Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. First consideration is given to student-oriented events. More information is available on the Office of Multicultural Affairs website.

From the SACNAS website: As the University of Kansas Graduate Student Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), we share in our national organization's mission of furthering underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. While we do have this emphasis, our organization is all-inclusive, promoting outreach and professional development at all levels of scholastic advancement, be it high school, undergraduate or graduate students. More information is available on the SACNAS website. 

While on campus one may see signs, stickers, or plaques denoting Safe ZonesThe Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Affairs present to you Safe Zone, an educational program that educates both the campus and greater Lawrence community in order to create a safer, more civil community for all individuals, particularly those of sexuality and/or gender minorities (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual,  transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc.) Faculty, staff, and all students are welcome to sign up for the training.

TRIO programs provide educational opportunities for low-income individuals, first-generation college-bound students and disabled Americans. Congress established a series of programs to help low-income and disabled Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. These programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are referred to as the TRIO Programs (as there were initially just three programs). More information is available on the TRIO website. 


Online Resources

This poster provides some information, suggestions, and resources for men, specifically cis white men, to become allies, supporters, and followers in the fight for equity and inclusion of women and minoritized groups in physics, in STEM fields in general, and in society as a whole. The following link may not be ADA compliant - please visit this poster (PDF) for the interactive poster.

The LGBT+ Physicists website is the first website for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual, pansexual, not-cisgender and not-straight (as well as friendly cis and straight) physicists. Their resource website has come out of a need for resources for gender and sexual minority (GSM) physicists.

These resources were created to help Muslim students in their education, in accessing financial aid, and with the challenges they may face in school with discrimination. The first guidebook was designed to provide a wealth of helpful resources and advice for students who must deal with anti-Muslim bias daily. It includes extensive information about finding support on and off campus, ways to overcome the challenges, tips for finding an inclusive community, and a fantastic expert interview. You can see it here:

Support for Muslim College Students: Finding Community & Maintaining Your Religious Identity in School

The second guide provides detailed information about 20 scholarships specifically for Muslim students, and advice about how to land a scholarship.

Scholarships for Muslim College Students: 20 Awards to Help Fund Your Education