This is a living document that will be updated as our department continues to learn and our equity, inclusion, and antiracist efforts continue to evolve. If you have feedback for our department, please provide your comments through this anonymous feedback form.
The Mathematics and Statistics Department fully endorses Amherst College’s Anti-Racism Plan. We also support the Equity and Inclusion statements by the American Mathematical Society, the Association for Women in Mathematics, and the American Statistical Association.
Systemic racism and discrimination pervade every aspect of our society, including the field of mathematics and statistics. We have a strong commitment to supporting all students in our classes and our majors, regardless of their race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex or gender (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity), age, disability, mental health status, socioeconomic status, genetic information, military service, or any other diverse backgrounds. We are committed to taking necessary actions in moving forward and generating changes toward a more inclusive STEM community.
Toward this end, we are continuing our involvement in ongoing programs and also dedicating ourselves to new efforts. In particular:
- Statistics faculty (Professor Shu-Min Liao) now contributes to the Being Human in STEM ("HSTEM") course and it is now listed as one of the pre-approved elective courses toward our Statistics major; please see Major Requirements in Statistics for more details.
- During Spring 2022, we formed a Math & Stat Student Steering Committee (the MS^3 Committee) which (1) reached out to other student DEI committees on campus to learn from their experiences, as well as to discuss potential future collaborations; (2) helped organize and lead conversations in the student-led student-centered "Being Human in Math and Stats" (BHMS) colloquium events - one occurred on April 7th and the other on May 5th; (3) reached out to math and stat alums and successfully invited 5 alums to join the two BHMS events via Zoom; and (4) distributed a short survey to gather student feedback from majors and non-majors about our math & stat courses. At the end of Spring 2022, the MS^3 Committee summarized student feedback they gathered from the BHMS events and the aforementioned survey, and recommended a list of actionable items to the department for our DEI initiatives in 2022-2023. In Spring 2023, Professors Shu-Min Liao and Ivan Contreras helped to establish the Mathematics and Statistics DEI Partnership (MS-DEI), which continues to work on the MS^3 Committee goals.
- We are engaged in discussions about how we can incorporate and emphasize the relevance of mathematics and statistics across our curriculum as powerful tools to have a better understanding of marginalization, racism, lack of access and inclusion in STEM.
- The Mathematics and Statistics Department is actively involved in the annual Summer Science and Quantitative tracks of Amherst's Summer Bridge Program, which empowers FLI (First-Generation and/or Low-Income) students to navigate the educational opportunities at Amherst College. Professor Greg Call has taught Calculus in the program for over 25 years, and Professors Rob Benedetto and Danielle Benedetto for over 15 years and over 10 years, respectively. With the more recent addition of a Statistics component, statistics faculty have taught in the program as well. Summer Bridge gives a supportive introduction to the campus, the faculty, and the high academic level of classes at Amherst College, and it also highlights academic support opportunities on the campus, including the Moss Quantitative Center and faculty Office Hours, with an emphasis on building personal interaction between the students and Amherst's faculty and staff.
- The Statistics and Data Science Fellows (SDS Fellows) Program launched in the Fall of 2014. Fellows support their peers in introductory statistics, intermediate statistics, and data science courses. Fellows also engage in projects that contribute to the campus community (see the news article).
- In 2015, David Cox initiated a similar yet distinct Math Fellow Program in response to the soaring enrollments and increasing diversity of our student body to support students through the Math and Stat curriculum. Our dedicated TAs, coordinated by Allison Tanguay and several faculty members, work actively to create welcoming, diverse and inclusive learning environments during office hours. We have regularly partnered with the Center for Teaching and Learning to provide training on inclusive pedagogical practices and more recently have collaborated with the HSTEM Program as we work to include the Math Fellows in departmental discussions on antiracism.
- The STEM Incubator program, which includes Statistics, supports and trains students from underrepresented groups in STEM, including Black, Latinx, Indigenous and FLI (First-Generation and/or Low-Income) students. The Program initiated in 2020 with a cohort of 18 sophomores, and the co-founders of the program are Professors Brittney Bailey (statistics), Marc Edwards (biology) and Chris Durr (chemistry).
- The Math Alliance is a national initiative to ensure that every underrepresented or underserved American student with the talent and the ambition has the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in a mathematical or statistical science. Several of our faculty members are serving as Math Alliance mentors.
- Many of our faculty members take advantage of programming offered by The Center for Teaching and Learning to develop inclusive and antiracist pedagogies. Past programming that we’ve participated in includes, but is not limited to, the Summer 2020 ACUE and 2U programs, Building an Inclusive Syllabus workshops, the Pedagogical Partner Program, a Faculty Learning Community on Inclusive Pedagogy in the STEM classroom, and Anti-Racism Pedagogy Conversation Circles.
- The learning goals for the statistics major have been updated to reflect our value of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.