The University of Kentucky Department of Geography is committed to providing an open, accessible, and supportive learning climate*. We understand that each member of the community (students, faculty, postdocs, and staff) have distinct but equally important roles. As a community, we respect the humanity, dignity, individuality, and freedom of each member, and their distinct contributions to our community. We strive to be a place where individuals and groups learn with and from each other, and we acknowledge that learning may sometimes--if not often--be difficult and uncomfortable. Acceptance flows from a common ground, based on a belief in the acceptance of individuals as human beings. Acceptance of the person is different from acceptance of their viewpoint/agenda. This includes the belief in people’s ability to determine who they shall become (self-determination), their protection from injury, affordance of their equality of opportunity (e.g., access to education, healthcare, food, housing and information about their basic rights), protection of their privacy and well-being, and acknowledgement for their work, through recognition or economic compensation.
The Department of Geography is committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation for every person. Every person includes faculty, staff, postdocs, and students, regardless of background including, but not limited to, physical ability, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, political views, religious beliefs, creed, national origin, citizenship, religion and/or spirituality, sexual orientation, gender identity, size, intellectual acuity, level of knowledge, family status, and technological ability. We aim to foster a sense of shared experience and common purpose for everyone in the department, along with a collective responsibility for each other's well-being and for the well-being of the department as a whole. Academic rigor and intellectual exchange of ideas are integral parts of development as scholars. All exchanges amongst members of the department are to be conducted in a respectful manner and with understanding of the diverse backgrounds within the community. We also recognize that respect takes time, initiative, and patience, and exceeds the work of politeness to attain actual understanding whenever possible. Further, the Department is a space where we see difference as central to informing our research process, and our goal is to work openly to understand our own unique identities, experiences, and viewpoints in order to grow not only individually but collectively.
We recognize that our department is stronger with people who have different perspectives and offer creative problem-solving strategies. As a department, we engage in a mission to promote a research and learning environment that is welcoming to all. We seek to improve inclusion within our community and to provide a welcoming atmosphere for new students, faculty, postdocs, and staff. We recognize that the field of geography has a special role in the academy in its study of space, place, and environment. We recognize that geography is historically bound to colonial aims and intentions and is still tied to and upholds imperialism, racism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and ableism today, among other sorts of violence. Therefore, it is our responsibility as geographers to uproot these inequalities on behalf of social justice.
The Department aims to extend to each member of the community the resources necessary to achieve the highest levels of distinction in their work and scholarship. While all members of our community are responsible for achieving these goals, we understand that power is embedded in the academy and those of us who possess it must use this power to create an inclusive community. The Department commits to always work to facilitate a new generation of ideas and leaders within the discipline, to sustain the highest level of research and teaching possible, and to cultivate discourse among diverse parties both within and beyond our classrooms, conferences, and publications.
* Our statement is inspired from the work of other scholars and departments whose diversity, inclusion, equality, and/or climate statements we have drawn on liberally in writing our own statement. We cite and thank the following departments for their beautiful and important statements that made our own possible. All of these sites were last accessed on March 12, 2020. (1) Princeton University Department of Chemisty (2) Berea College (3) UC Berkeley Department of Economics (4) Kent University iSchool (5) UMass Geosciences and (6) Brown University Department of Sociology