Dragonfly Supports Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Black Lives Matter

Project Dragonfly in Miami University’s department of biology joins the university, the City of Oxford, the NAACP and other organizations throughout the world to condemn the horrific death of George Floyd and the countless other tragic losses caused by injustice and systemic prejudice. We grieve these many losses, and we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and everyone who works to end racism, inequity, and violence.

In these difficult and divisive times, please know your hard work to inspire and sustain collaborative inquiry, dialogue, and shared action makes a real difference—in no small part because these forces of change serve as powerful antidotes to ignorance and fear. Every week, we see Dragonfly students, alums, instructors, and partners deeply engaged in communities, expanding boundaries by engaging diverse stakeholders, and ensuring the types of inclusive spaces needed for civic participation and progress.  

Please know that your continued efforts to improve this fractious world are highly needed, appreciated, and important. Don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone in the extended Dragonfly family for ideas or support. Keep listening, learning, voting, and caring. We are in this together.

On behalf of the Dragonfly team,

Chris Myers and Lynne Born Myers
Director and Co-Director, Project Dragonfly
Department of Biology

Resources and Articles

Miami University Diversity & Inclusion
NAACP’s Civic Engagement Toolkit and Police Reform Toolkit
Black Lives Matter
Anti-Racism Resources
The Turning Point for Real Change by Barack Obama
NAAEE’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

In Support of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Project Dragonfly is committed to understanding and upending bias, discrimination, and systemic racism, and we are dedicated to celebrating difference and ensuring inclusive spaces. The Project Dragonfly mission is to improve human and ecological communities and to work collaboratively to bring about change in local and global contexts. We see from our students every day how shared learning, dialogue, collaboration, and community serve as powerful antidotes to ignorance and fear. We also know that committing to create a just society for all includes having difficult conversations with ourselves about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Below we’ve listed some of the steps we’ve taken and our plans.  We welcome further ideas and have included a contact email.

Student Recruitment – Since the inception of its master’s degrees in 2009, Project Dragonfly has implemented policies directly focused on reaching students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.  To recruit underrepresented students, Project Dragonfly contacts more than 40 professional groups dedicated to equity, representation, and opportunity for racial and ethnic minorities in K-12 schools, higher education, and the sciences. Beginning in 2018, Dragonfly additionally connected with 60 state and regional organizations for bilingual education and TESOL (Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages). Dragonfly also contacts more than 100 colleges and universities notable for their high minority enrollment, including top historically black universities, top ethnically and economically diverse universities, and top veteran graduate schools as identified by US News and World Report. Dragonfly also contacts minority students who are interested in the life science and education fields and who are listed in the National Name Exchange and the McNair Scholars directory. The National Name Exchange is a consortium of 55 U.S. colleges and universities that collect and exchange the names of talented undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities. The McNair Scholars directory features college students who are low income, first generation, and from minority ethnicities, in order to help institutions recruit them for graduate study. Dragonfly has now grown to currently 1,000 master’s students. The number of incoming students in Dragonfly master’s programs who self-identify as underrepresented ethnicities has progressively increased: In 2017, 14.2 percent of the students admitted to Dragonfly master’s programs identify as African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. In 2020, that percentage increased to 21.4 percent.  Most of our admitted students identify as female, consistent with trends of women in the life sciences and education fields.

Staff and Program – Current instructors and full-time staff completed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training in 2019, and staff members are always encouraged to seek out additional training. Dragonfly is working with Miami’s Office of Institutional Diversity on a plan for all of its 1,000 students to complete student DEI training, which will be a requirement of all Dragonfly graduate students beginning Fall 2020. In accordance with Miami’s Strategic Diversity Plan, Dragonfly will also be investigating how to further integrate DEI ideas into its curriculum. All Dragonfly students and instructors directly address issues of equitable participation, voice, and community through community engagement labs, inquiry action projects, leadership workshops, and other features that are integrated into the curriculum.  In fact, the community-embedded and partner-based learning collaborative that supports Project Dragonfly’s graduate programs evolved as a needed alternative to widespread educational practices that confine learning to classrooms with little incentive or opportunity to authentically engage in social or ecological challenges.  Through Dragonfly’s graduate programs, students work alongside diverse stakeholders at the forefront of community innovation across Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas to foster positive change in diverse cultural and ecological contexts.

More work is needed to combat racism and promote equity and inclusion. Part of the solution, we believe, lies in educational practices that are more deeply rooted in communities and more committed to genuine dialogue.  We find hope in new approaches that bring people together to advance a just and sustainable future.

–The Team at Dragonfly

If you are interested in or have ideas to support Dragonfly’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives, please contact Jamie Bercaw Anzano at bercawj@miamioh.edu.

More Resources and Articles