Biology Equity and Inclusion

The Biology Department strives to provide an inclusive and welcoming learning and working environment that honors and embraces individuality, supports the expression of diverse ideas, encourages the safe exploration of intellectual curiosity and creativity, and builds a shared sense of community. We are deeply committed to these ideals in all aspects of what we do, whether in teaching, research, service to the College and University, or in our efforts to provide science outreach to the broader community. If you have ideas regarding work we should prioritize in our continued efforts to foster greater STEM inclusivity, we would love to hear from you.

In honor of those who have faced systemic injustice for generations, and who continue to face bias and discrimination in science and engineering, the faculty in the College of Science and Engineering has established a fund to support Black students in STEM. Black people have been, and remain, significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Through this scholarship we can make an impact on the educational goals of Black students at WWU for generations to come.

Our initial goal is to raise $25,000 to establish an endowment fund that will support the scholastic and research aspirations of Black undergraduate and graduate students. Please join us in making a lasting impact for our students. Together we can make a difference.

Donate to the endowment fund

CSE's Ambassadors & Community Hours

There is a critical need to improve communication within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) between students, staff, faculty, and the administration.

These hours are a time for students, staff and faculty to bring concerns, feedback or questions as it related to equity, inclusion and diversity within STEM. We hope that we, the Student and Community Ambassadors, and the STEM Inclusion and Outreach Specialist, can advise and also guide people to college, university or external resources.

Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors act as a liaison between students and their faculty, and the Dean of CSE. CSE Student Ambassadors seek to engage in issues around advocacy, equity, and diversity in STEM.

Aryana Merrit-Johnson

Reva Karnik

Faculty Ambassador

Faculty Ambassadors act as a liaison between students, faculty, staff and the Dean of CSE. CSE Faculty Ambassadors seek to engage in issues around advocacy, equity, and diversity in STEM.

Suzanne Lee

Office hours by appointment.

Suzanne smiling in front of a tree


Student Resources

College/University Resources:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - Western is committed to providing a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive campus community for all students, faculty, and staff, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, veteran status, and financial background. The website provides many helpful campus resources for students, families, faculty, and staff.
  • LGBTQ+ Western - LGBTQ+ Western works to advance the holistic thriving of diverse LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff at Western Washington University by collaboratively engaging the university community with transformational knowledge, resources, advocacy, and celebration.
    • Contact: L.K. Langley - LGBTQ+ Director
                   Pronouns: they/them/theirs
                   Multicultural Center, Viking Union 753
                   Tel: (360) 650-7500
                   Office hours: Tuesdays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
                                          Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records for current and former students of the university. FERPA dictates what education records and personally identifiable information from education records the University is allowed to disclose.
  • WICOH - Western's Interdisciplinary Community Office Hours: The goal of the Community Office Hours program is to provide an opportunity for students to connect with faculty members outside of their field of study, in a space in which students and faculty can interact in a space devoid of grades, classes and power hierarchies.

STEM Clubs/Resources:

  • WWU Biology Club - The Western Washington University Biology Club is a diverse group of individuals with a common objective of promoting the Biology Department & Biological Science on campus and in our community, as well as fostering a passionate appreciation of biology.
  • SACNAS - (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) - SACNAS is an inclusive organization focusing on building a supportive community for those pursuing a STEM major. We work to help members integrate on campus and take full advantage of the available resources for a variety of purposes. In addition, we are passionate about outreach and encouraging diversity and inclusion within STEM.
  • Out in Science - Out In Science is a group of STEM students, faculty, and staff working for the promotion, inclusion, and support of the queer community in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. 
  • Physicists for Inclusion in Science - Our primary focuses are public outreach, providing support to undergraduate Physics and Astronomy students, and promoting inclusion and equity work in the Physics and Astronomy Department and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE).
  • STEM CLUBS WWU - A Facebook page to share all events happening in all STEM clubs.
  • More STEM Clubs at WWU

Bias Incident Reporting

What is a bias incident?

A bias incident is language or an action that demonstrates bias against an individual or group of people based on actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation, age, or veteran status. 

Examples of bias incidents can include, but are not limited to, vandalism to personal or University property, defacement of posters, verbal slurs, and physical assault.

A bias incident may contribute to creating an unsafe environment or have a negative psychological, emotional, or physical impact on an individual, group, or community.  A bias incident may occur whether or not there is an intent to cause a negative impact, and whether or not the incident constitutes a crime or violation of Washington law or Western policy.

To report a bias incident in the Biology Department, CSE or WWU - go to the links below:

Faculty/Staff Equity & Inclusion Resources

  • Equity and Inclusion Training Series - A university-wide initiative to empower members of the Western campus community to better understand and thoughtfully engage with the experiences and identities of all our community members.
  • Inclusive Teaching Toolkit - How to create an inclusive atmosphere in the classroom, and teaching resources.
  • CSE Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee - Works to promote, and advocates for, equity, inclusion, and diversity in the College of Science and Engineering.
  • Race & Sex/Gender in the Curriculum Working Group - This group of instructors, teaching assistants, and staff from the Biology Department and across campus meets several times a quarter to improve how our curriculum addresses the socially powerful concepts of race and sex/gender. Our meetings consist of topical discussions around readings and seminars to increase our knowledge and awareness, working on the development of learning objectives and course modules, workshopping curricula to increase facility with instruction, and developing instruments to measure student learning. Please contact Dan Pollard to inquire about participating and accessing resources.