Welcome to the EGSA diversity page!

Guided by the UC Davis Principles of Community, and the mission of the The GGE Diversity Committee, the EGSA is working to foster appreciation for the value of diversity in the GGE, to create and sustain a supportive and inclusive environment for all students, and to diversify our membership.

As a student or professional, you may have observed that diversity is low in the field of ecology. The GGE Diversity Committee is taking steps to address this by starting dialogues about diversity, providing diversity training, examining our own policies and procedures, encouraging effective outreach, and acting as a resource and source of support for all students. As leaders in our field, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to address barriers to diversity within ecology.

The EGSA and Diversity Committee have created this page to centralize diversity-related resources for the GGE community, to provide information, and to encourage thought, discussion, and action. Diversity-related posts and tweets from our EGSA blog and twitter account will also be directed here. Check out some of the links below, and see our sidebar for announcements and posts!

Diversity Defined
Diversity Resources
GGE Outreach
The GGE Diversity Committee
Background: Racial and ethnic diversity in Ecology

The GGE Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee is composed of an elected chair and vice chair (students or faculty), two appointed student voting members, two appointed faculty voting members, and the GGE student affairs officer. In addition, anyone is welcome to attend meetings, participate in sub-committees, and provide input as non-voting members. As a permanent standing committee, the GGE Diversity Committee will make recommendations to the GGE Executive Committee.  The committee’s bylaws state:

The Diversity Committee will work to foster appreciation for the value of diversity in the GGE, to create and sustain a supportive and inclusive environment for all members, and to diversify our membership. Specific duties of the Diversity Committee will be to 1) support enrolled students by providing information resources and social events, 2) increase awareness of diversity issues and opportunities for outreach by providing student and faculty trainings and webpage management, and 3) identify methods to increase student and faculty diversity in the GGE and present these methods to the Executive Committee for consideration of adoption.

Contact Matt Malepeai or Mikaela Provost (student contact) for more information, if you’d like to become involved, or if you have an issue to bring to the committee.

Racial and ethnic diversity in Ecology

A diverse community of ecologists is necessary to ensure that areas of study cover a breadth of topics of concern to all individuals, to enable translation of research to diverse communities outside of academia, and to provide a variety of perspectives and maximize our ability to analyze ecological problems. Diversity encompasses many factors, however, data regarding some types of diversity in the sciences (such as sexual orientation or disability) are largely unavailable. This section will specifically focus on demographic data regarding racial and ethnic diversity, which show that there are large disparities among racial groups in ecology. Across all ecology and evolutionary biology graduate programs in the U.S., an average of 7% students are from underrepresented groups1 . In addition, people of color make up just 9% of membership of the Ecological Society of America2. However, data from the National Science Foundation show that 23% of those employed at the doctorate level in STEM fields are people of color3, indicating a discrepancy between ecology and other STEM fields.

The mission of the University of California system is to serve residents of California, and it is essential that we consider how the significant discrepancies between demographics inside and outside of the GGE and other graduate programs in the UC affect our ability to fulfill this mission. In California, people of color make up approximately 60% of the population, and groups historically underrepresented in universities account for 47%4. At UC Davis, students from underrepresented groups make up 21% of undergraduates, 14% of graduate students, and 6% of GGE students5,6. The GGE is one of the largest graduate ecology programs in the nation1 – as a result, diversity within the GGE has a large impact on the diversity of the field of ecology. As a leading program in ecology, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to address barriers to diversity within our program and our field. Two ways that students and faculty in the GGE are working towards these goals are through participating in outreach activities and the GGE Diversity Committee. The Committee specifically addresses diversity within the GGE.

demog fig 2Figure 1. Demographics of UCD GGE in comparison to other UCD graduate programs, UCD undergraduates, California population, and US population. Data from US Census Bureau, UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies, and UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions. No data on “Other” available for CA or US populations.


When used in this document, “Underrepresented” refers to people of Hispanic/Latino, African-American, and Native American origin.

When used in this document, “People of Color” refers to people of Asian, Hispanic/Latino, African-American, and Native American origin.

Literature Cited

1.   National Research Council. 2010. A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate
Programs: Report and Summary Tables. 
2.   Ortega S., Flecker A., Hoffman K., Jablonski L. Johnson-White J., Jurgensen-
Armstrong, M., Kimmerer R., Poston M., Socha A., Taylor J. 2006. Women and
minorities in ecology II: Committee report. Ecological Society of America. 
3.  National Science Foundation. 2006. Characteristics of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 2006. Accessed Feb. 2, 2013. 
4.   U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Census State and County QuickFacts: California. 
5.   UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions. Student Profile. 
6.   Davis Office of Graduate Studies. Data Report: Enrollment Headcount by Ethnicity, Fall 2012, Ecology. 

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