Economics Department Commitments to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Major
As faculty members in the economics department at Grinnell College, we recognize the underrepresentation of traditionally marginalized groups in the major and acknowledge the inherently unequal world in which we study and live. We make the following commitments in the hopes of creating a more diverse and inclusive major:
- We commit to using outreach to counter stereotypes about economics and close other information gaps. Efforts to achieve this commitment may include hosting “What is economics?” information sessions, sharing the wide variety of career paths made possible by a degree in economics, and crafting representations of the department (website, building design features, etc.) to counter stereotypes about the economics discipline.
- We commit to offering courses and course content that are relevant for students from diverse backgrounds. Efforts to achieve this commitment may include incorporating real-world, consequential examples (e.g. disparate effects of climate change) in the classroom, supporting non-traditional and social justice-oriented choices of topics for projects and papers, sharing leading research from a diverse set of authors, and inviting students to evaluate economic models in light of their lived experiences.
- We commit to building a sense of belonging for all students. Efforts to achieve this commitment may include monitoring the demographic composition of the major; placing value on embodied and lived diversity in choosing seminar speakers, new faculty hires, student workers, and student representatives; hosting events and supporting student-led efforts to create community; supporting participation in activities promoting diversity (St. Louis Federal Reserve Women in Economics Conference, Sadie Collective, etc.); and periodically seeking feedback from students on our progress in upholding these commitments.
- We commit to using intentional teaching practices to create an inclusive classroom environment. Efforts to achieve this commitment may include designing questions and question-asking strategies that encourage participation by all students, designing engaging class sessions, using a variety of pedagogical formats, making efforts to get to know students as individuals, and reflecting on success in these areas as individuals and as a department and updating our teaching practices accordingly.
- We commit to helping students understand and enjoy the learning process. Efforts to achieve this commitment may include emphasizing that all students can improve their economic intuition and abilities with well-directed and instructor-guided efforts, discussing best practices for homework and exam preparation, giving pep talks before and after exams that explain the role of examination in the learning process, providing carefully articulated learning goals in each course, and explaining college-level academic practices (e.g. office hours).
We recognize that creating an inclusive and welcoming major is an ongoing process. In the spirit of working toward this goal together, we welcome your feedback, both in the areas where you think we are doing well and areas where you think we can improve. We encourage you to reach out to any professor you feel comfortable talking to, the department chair, and/or student representatives in the SEPC with your feedback. You may also leave comments anonymously for the department chair.
This document was unanimously approved by the Grinnell College Department of Economics on March 4, 2022.
Parts of this statement are adapted from Bayer, Amanda, Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan, Rohini Pande, Cecilia Elena Rouse, Anthony A. Smith Jr., Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, and David W. Wilcox. 2019. Best Practices for Economists: Building a More Diverse, Inclusive, and Productive Profession. American Economic Association. (accessed Aug. 24, 2021).