A Statement of Mission-Based Values
Caltech's intertwined research and education mission is grounded in a belief in the profound importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in realizing our goal of "expand[ing] human knowledge and benefit[ing] society through research integrated with education."
At Caltech, we value each other's different experiences and perspectives, and we strive to cultivate an environment of learning, discovery, and innovation where "our preconceptions are challenged, our research is broadened, and our ideas are refined through the expansive exchange of ideas." This environment is essential if Caltech is to remain a destination of choice for the most outstanding scholars. While talent is distributed broadly, opportunity is not. This reality requires us to emphasize the linkage between our position as a leader in scientific and technological innovation and the importance of cultivating a diverse and inclusive institutional community. "[O]nly when individuals from all backgrounds share equitably in the privileges of the academy" will we "realize fully the potential of science and engineering to create knowledge for the ages and improve people's lives today."
Our commitment to cultivate an environment in which all of our members can "thrive and realize their full potential, irrespective of individual backgrounds and circumstances" is unwavering. And, as reflected in decades of scholarly research, as well as our own institutional experience, our commitment is tied expressly to our belief in the compelling power of all forms of diversity to enhance and expand educational experiences and scientific insights that benefit all of our community members. Such diversity encourages individuals to question their own assumptions and appreciate the complex and increasingly diverse and modern world. It promotes dialogue and the "robust exchange of ideas," which in turn advances discovery, innovation, and advancement of knowledge and accomplishment—including with a more engaged and informed citizenry. Tapping into the power of diversity requires us to be intentional in our efforts to foster inclusive academic, research, and work environments for all members of our community.
In short, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is but one manifestation of our commitment to institutional excellence. Diversity is essential to achieving and maintaining scientific excellence.
How Caltech's Mission is Realized
Caltech's success depends on pursuit of our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in all aspects of institutional life. We pursue the "most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology" in a "collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere" of innovation, creativity, and collaboration. And we are committed to pedagogical, instructional, and research practices that engage, motivate, and support students from all backgrounds and reflect the full range of methods and materials in our fields of study. For example, in the Inclusive Caltech Core project, the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO) and faculty who teach in the Core curriculum formed a community of practice to explore whether and how approaches to teaching and assessment have differential impacts on first-year students' learning and academic self-concept. Student-Faculty Programs (SFP) and the Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) provide training to Caltech faculty, postdocs, and graduate students to promote the use of effective, inclusive approaches to mentor and advise. Within the academic divisions, faculty, teaching staff and postdoctoral instructors provide opportunities for students to explore the ways in which science, technology, and the pursuit of knowledge can contribute to and better society.
More broadly, we support numerous campus-based initiatives designed to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community. Our efforts include: increasing representation of students, postdocs, faculty, and staff from a range of diverse backgrounds; fostering an inclusive culture and campus climate; and creating more equitable experiences and outcomes for members of our institutional community. Campus-wide activities and initiatives include:
- Building community and strengthening connections through programs across the Institute and within the Divisions (e.g., First-Year Success Research Institute, Graduate Summer Research Institute, affinity organizations, and employee resource groups);
- Supporting outreach activities that engage diverse communities in STEM-focused educational experiences and events;
- Providing education and training to students, faculty, postdocs, and staff on how to incorporate inclusive approaches to their work;
- Providing incoming low-income undergraduate and graduate students with start-up funding to mitigate financial barriers associated with the transition to Caltech.
Caltech's Organizational Structures to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work
Across the Institute there is broad engagement in diversity, equity, and inclusion work. A variety of committees, offices, and governance structures are charged to advance and support Caltech's DEI priorities. These include the:
President's Diversity Council, where Caltech faculty work to support, advise, and provide recommendations to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the Institute in the service of academic excellence.
Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity, where we provide education, advocacy, and allyship to create a community of equity and inclusive excellence.
Divisional DEI Committees, where each academic division promotes and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within their specific options and academic disciplines to further their intellectual mission.
Office of Strategic Communications, which enhances the visibility of the rich diversity within our institutional community by capturing the stories of and providing a platform for individuals to share their contributions to science and engineering in addition to their backgrounds and experiences.
There are also a significant number of scientific organizations and clubs that support the academic, personal, and career development of students, postdocs, staff, and faculty from numerous, including historically-excluded, backgrounds and amplify the voices, actions, and successes of a diverse range of Caltech scholars, students, and staff.
Each of the above organizational structures work to further our DEI-related priorities in an effective and coordinated manner. At Caltech, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is a shared responsibility pursued collaboratively to fulfill our commitment to these values and to the research and educational mission of the Institute. Doing so is imperative to strengthening our institution and contributing to the public good.
Diversity at Caltech refers to a sufficiently robust representation of people along many dimensions of identity, background, and lived experience within the institutional community as a mechanism to enhance learning and research, and to sustain institutional excellence.
Inclusion refers to how individuals experience the institution; how they are valued, supported, and welcomed. We seek to transform organizational culture and structures so that all community members, and importantly including those from historically excluded and historically underrepresented groups, feel a sense of belonging within the Caltech community.