Ongoing Efforts

The Department of Human Evolutionary Biology is consistently striving to create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. We see this as a continuous goal and have a number of endeavors currently underway towards these aims. To this end, we host regular departmental Town Halls to discuss current issues and consider room for improvement within our community. In 2020, we also formed a voluntary Diversity and Inclusion Task Force composed of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students split across several working groups, each centered on a specific theme. Below are the names and descriptions of each group.

  • Mentoring: Provides resources to support both mentors and mentees to facilitate and maintain supportive, productive mentoring relationships, and initiate practices in the department that widen mentoring networks and create avenues for clear and thoughtful feedback between mentors and ment.

  • Twisted Science: Seeks to create an accessible, reputable website run by HEB volunteers with posts for general public readers that addresses myths and misunderstandings about human variation, especially in relation to “race”. By increasing scientific literacy on this topic, this extracurricular initiative will help to counteract the spread of racist ideas grounded in bad science. A link to the platform will be provided when it is launched.

  • Curriculum: Provides suggestions to course instructors on ways to integrate a greater understanding of the history of scientific racism and its societal implications into HEB coursework. We work in tight collaborations with other Harvard groups, including the Bok Center Learning Lab and the History of Science Department to become proficient educators on these topics. 

  • Outreach: Works to highlight and encourage opportunities for our department members to become involved in scientific outreach. Beyond the department, this group aims to engage the community and provide opportunities for others to learn about our work and ways to join us as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members. 

  • Social media: Coordinates the department’s online presence. We publicize our department and the work done here, optimize how our members can best utilize social media as representatives of HEB, and we work to recruit interested individuals to join us. Follow us on Twitter @HarvardHEB!

  • Accountability and Assessment: Organizations striving to promote diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism can benefit from self-evaluation so that we don’t lose sight of our goals. This working group helps track these goals, acknowledge successes, and find areas for improvement.

  • Community Conversations: Works to facilitate an open and safe discourse within the HEB department on issues of racism, explicit and implicit bias, discrimination, and harrassment. This group helps to organize one Tuesday Lunch event per semester in which members of the department can voice concerns and have a dialogue about current issues in academia, STEM, and broader society.