Diversity and Inclusion Information
Diversity and Inclusion at DRI
The Desert Research Institute (DRI) offers a supportive, diverse, and inclusive environment for its students, faculty/staff, and visitors. The Office for Human Resources, Diversity, and Affirmative Action is responsible for administering and monitoring the Institute’s equal opportunity and diversity-related policies and procedures, pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Americans with Disabilities Act and other relevant federal, state and local statutes.
The office collaborates with System and Institute management, faculty, and staff to ensure that campus operations, programs and procedures comply with these requirements, as well as investigates discrimination complaints from faculty, students, and staff. The office also provides assistance to individuals who have concerns and questions regarding sexual harassment, accessibility, discrimination, recruitment and hiring processes, equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity.
Equal Opportunity Commitment
DRI is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action in recruitment of its employees and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or gender expression. DRI employs only United States citizens and aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Women, under-represented groups, individuals with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.
Outreach, Diversity, and Inclusion Efforts
- DRI’s efforts in relation to outreach, diversity, and inclusion, encompass the promotion of DRI diversity at state, national, and international levels.
- DRI is committed to reinforcing the Institute’s diversity program of opportunities in world-class research using current and future relationships in higher education, industry and the private sector, under the direction of the President and the Institute’s charter.
- DRI aims to connect with and stimulate the interest of a diverse group of qualified candidates seeking the coveted educational and employment opportunities at Desert Research Institute.
- Promoting the Institute’s world-class research is the highest priority to both the local, state, and national community of underrepresented higher education populations.
DRI has campuses located in both Northern and Southern Nevada, providing a wide variety of opportunities in research science.
Faculty members are nontenured and responsible for their own salaries through external grants and contracts. Through this blend of academic rigor and private-sector pragmatism, DRI has earned a reputation for delivering high-quality scientific information in an efficient, transparent an accountable fashion. DRI’s culture provides an inclusive and supportive structure for researchers of all levels and backgrounds. Junior research faculty and graduate students attend learning sessions on research business development and work with senior researchers as mentors. Administrative faculty also work closely with the researchers in a team environment to provide exceptional service to clients.
Life at both campuses is enhanced by easy access to a wide range of recreational activities, entertainment, and local art and music festivals.
Diverse Community Partnerships
DRI is committed to building relationships with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) and the communities which it serves. A key component to DRI’s diversity strategy is to involve the community through education, outreach, and partnerships with a variety of constituency organizations.
DRI’s education and outreach programs include higher education student programs in cooperation with the UNR and UNLV, involvement in the K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs, and community education and involvement in our research.
Outreach programs include:
DRI proudly supports and sponsors the following diversity-focused organizations:
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibly (IDEA) Committee
2020 Charter – IDEA Committee Charter 2020
Overview and Purpose: DRI’s mission is to excel in basic and applied research and the application of technologies to improve people’s lives in Nevada and throughout the world. Diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility are critical components within the fabric of the institute to excel in basic and applied research, solve complex environmental issues, and advance DRI’s mission. However, data show the earth sciences are among the least diverse science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in the United States and racial diversity in PhD-level earth scientists has not improved over the past four decades. The purpose of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) committee is to help build a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and accessible environment for all institute community members.
Scope: This committee is targeted towards promoting the advancement and improvement of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibly at DRI as pertain to both internal and external-facing functions. The Committee will seek broad representation across the institute. For clarity, this group is not an advocacy group and will not engage in discussions on national, state, or local politics, political figures, or political movements. This group does not handle personnel issues; these must be directed to Human Resources. For topics that are actionable within HR, the Diversity Officer will be the conduit between the committee and that department.
- Promote the advancement and improvement of IDEA at DRI, including recommendations on evidence-based best practices for the advancement of IDEA.
- Inform DRI policy related to IDEA.
- Identify shortcomings within DRI culture and provide education, raise awareness, and recommend actionable solutions to address those shortcomings.
- Create mechanisms that alleviate the burden of on underrepresented groups to advocate for IDEA issues (e.g., the ‘cultural taxation’ imposed on those from under-represented groups2).
- Identify barriers for IDEA and recommend breakthrough points.
- Support the DRI Diversity Officer by channeling ideas, providing an additional outreach mechanism to identify areas of concern and employee input on IDEA recommendations, broadly engaging faculty in professional development/training initiatives, and reviewing/providing input into the Diversity Office Strategic Plan.
DRI values a diverse workforce and reviews data annually to ensure we are reaching applicants from diverse and underrepresented groups. We believe that a diverse workforce creates an environment that increases creativity, drives new research, and improves the workplace culture.
DRI’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion is focused on outreach to a more diverse group of applicants as well as improving efforts to support historically underrepresented groups within DRI and NSHE. DRI is continuously reviewing and updating this plan to ensure best practices are being implemented in order to recruit and retain a diverse group of employees dedicated to environmental research.
NSHE Diversity Data, Committees, and Summits
DRI provides meaningful access to our programs and activities for limited-English proficient individuals and individuals with disabilities.
Land Acknowledgement at DRI
We, of the Desert Research Institute, acknowledge that the places where we conduct science have deep ancestral ties to the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited these lands since time immemorial, and we recognize that these communities continue to thrive today. We respect traditional knowledge systems and Indigenous wisdom that originated before the Western scientific approach, and that evolved with and cannot be separated from these sacred lands. We value these knowledge systems that continue today as a way of understanding our intrinsic relationships with land, water, air, people, and ecosystems.
We express our gratitude for the opportunity to live and work on and in proximity to these traditional homelands. We acknowledge the original and continued sovereignty of Native nations in our region – Numu, Nuwu/Nuwuvi, Newe, and Wašiw/Wašišiw – and everywhere.
This is our commitment to conducting science with a conscience, which includes decolonizing science and rejecting the beliefs that have led to physical and cultural removal of Indigenous peoples from their traditional homelands, so that our work is respectful, collaborative, and beneficial for all. We will listen to, include, and elevate diverse ways of cultivating knowledge, and ally with Indigenous scientists.