Mission, Vision and Values

*Provided by: Dr. Laura Jones, Director Of Heritage Services And University Archaeologist For Stanford University in collaboration with the Muwekma-Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Learn more about this Acknowledgement and the history of the Muwekma-Ohlone Tribe

Mission, Vision and Values Statement for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Stanford Biology Department (March 24, 2021)

Note: This is a living document, which may be revised upon feedback from the community.

We start with a recognition that Stanford sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. 

This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. 

Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge, honor and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples*.


For Stanford Biology, it is our mission to develop and implement practices and policies that make the department a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in which to research, teach, learn, and work. We aim to identify shortcomings and opportunities for improvement in current department practices, and we will draw on existing research about effective policies and interventions to design solutions. We strive to be open and transparent in this work and to regularly seek input from all members of the department.


Guided by our Mission and motivated by our Values, we Envision a Biology Department where (i) All members feel safe, welcome, and a sense of belonging, (ii) Our diversity reflects that of the greater society, (iii) Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are valued and (iv) We have the information, resources and training needed to achieve our diversity, equity and inclusion goals.


Stanford Biology is committed to these social justice efforts because we value diversity in all forms. We believe that fostering diverse perspectives in our department is critical for all aspects of our professional work. Having a diverse, equitable, and inclusive biology community improves the quality of our research, teaching, and communication both within and outside the University.

We value the fundamental dignity of all human beings, and the right of all people within our department – staff, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty – to be safe in their workspace, to be equally valued as individuals, to have their voices heard, and for those from all racial, cultural, religious, socio-economic, gender identities, and sexual orientations to have a sense of belonging within our Biology community and the University as a whole. We value service to each other and to our community, and recognize that true service requires fair representation. We value a growth mindset and engagement in continuous individual and institutional reflection on ways of positive transformation. We value leadership and are committed to being a leader in social justice reforms on campus and in our community. We value personal responsibility and expect all members of our community – and especially those in leadership roles - to be aware of the potential impact of their actions, to be accountable for their actions, and to be role models in furthering the common principles and values that we hold.


We have identified the following steps that we would like to take in order to meet the goals laid out in our mission statement:

All members feel safe, welcome, and a sense of belonging

  • Share the steps we are taking to actively promote diverse, welcoming and equitable spaces in our labs, classrooms, offices, and meetings.
  • Create a more cohesive and transparent structure across constituent groups (faculty, staff, students, postdocs) and sub-departments (CMOB, EcoEvo, HMS).
  • Institute a process for reporting and responding to DEI transgressions.
  • Solicit input from within and outside our DEIB committee and continuously be open to adjusting structures and policies to better support those from underrepresented groups.

Our diversity reflects that of the greater society

  • Identify and implement best practices to recruit and retain students, postdoctoral fellows, staff and faculty from underrepresented groups.
  • Increase the number of URM seminar speakers.
  • Encourage departmental committees that mirror the diversity of the department as a whole.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are valued

  • Recognize and reward labor that advances DEI in our department.
  • Include contributions to DEI work when making decisions about hiring, recruitment, and promotion.
  • Expand our conceptions of what success means at all levels of the training hierarchy to include more community service and social responsibility.

We have the information, resources and training needed to achieve our diversity, equity and inclusion goals

  • Put into action procedures to assess and track department climate and diversity.
  • Institute in-person anti-racism, anti-bias, and anti-microaggression training.
  • Offer culturally aware mentorship education to faculty and other mentors.
  • Create/raise funds for staff positions that support departmental diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

What we mean by diversity*:

We employ an expanded definition of diversity, recognizing the importance of ensuring that all members of our community have equitable access to the Department of Biology and its resources. We center underrepresented populations who face systemic barriers that impact their experiences on campus. Our goal is to reduce or remove barriers for all members of our community.

It is our responsibility as an institution—as part of our commitment to creating a welcoming and affirming climate—to serve and support the following individuals and groups in the Department of Biology:

    Indigenous Peoples 

    People of color, including underrepresented groups and new immigrant populations

    People with both apparent and non-apparent disabilities

    People who identify as women

    People of various gender and sexual identities and expressions

    First-generation and low income students

We also address issues of access and climate for individuals who might encounter barriers based on their religious expression, age, national origin, ethnicity, or veteran status. Furthermore, we recognize the importance of working with people who claim more than one of the above identities.

*Text adapted from the University of Minnesota Office for Diversity & Equity