Hand writing mathematical formulas on a blackboard.
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Department establishes pledge in response to equity initiatives

On June 10, 2020, members of the global academic and STEM communities took some time to reflect, educate themselves, and suggest actions to eradicate anti-Black racism in academia and STEM.

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Shutdown STEM

The initiative followed the hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives. Learn more about that day on the Shutdown STEM website.

MSU’s Department of Mathematics initiated a pledge in response to these initiatives.

Members of the Department understand the need to act now and have vowed to take action steps including the following:

  • Work on a plan to build meaningful connections with K-12 schools and local community organizations that allow for greater participation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students in STEM disciplines, particularly mathematics.
  • Contact chairs and representatives at HBCUs to recruit their students for an international summer internship to start next year.
  • Include articles suggested by the ASCN (Accelerating systemic Change in STEM Network) website on our reading list this fall.
  • Revise our curriculum to reflect all of these elements and build on our collective strengths. As a department which is committed to mathematics and teaching, we are uniquely situated to fight injustice through the interplay of quantitative and qualitative ways of exploring, understanding, and changing our world.
  • Revise our curriculum with a focus on social justice issues. A math major must have certain quantitative skills and learn to appreciate the beauty of mathematical thinking but also have a keen sense of the larger implications of STEM on our society.
  • Read important articles (specifically Does STEM Stand Out? Examining Racial/Ethnic Gaps in Persistence Across Postsecondary Fields) on academic racism to help inform our scholarly work on equity and access for under-represented groups in STEM.
  • During our conference presentations, incorporate discussions about what we can do as an organization to bring more diversity to students who enter into mathematics teaching in NJ.
  • Become a member of  The National Association of Mathematicians, which was founded in 1969 by a group of Black and Hispanic mathematicians in response to systemic racism that was/is present in our major mathematics conferences and in the largest professional organization in our field, the American Mathematical Society.