Roundtable Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion to be Held Jan. 29

January 27, 2013

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – The first in a series of roundtable discussions about ways to promote greater diversity and inclusion at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 in room A158 of the Levine Science Research Center.

The discussion is open to all graduate and professional students at the Nicholas School who identify with an underrepresented group.  Future roundtable discussions will be open to faculty and staff.

Students at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., will be able to join Tuesday’s discussion by  remote telepresence. 

Paul James, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity, will facilitate the discussion. 

“Duke University continues to make progress toward increasing diversity and inclusion.  The Nicholas School welcomes and embraces this challenge and has identified diversity in faculty, students and staff as a strategic imperative,” said Dean William L. Chameides. 

Chameides’ leadership team is working closely with the Office for Institutional Equity and other schools and programs across campus to identify and remove barriers to diversity and inclusion at the Nicholas School, and provide respectful, diverse and inclusive work and learning environments for all members of the school’s community.  Chameides has established a Strategic Priorities Diversity Committee to spearhead these efforts.

The roundtable discussion series is one part of this ongoing initiative.

Dates for the future roundtable discussions for faculty and staff will be announced on the Nicholas School’s website and via email from the dean when they have been set.

Environmental challenges affect the quality of life of all peoples of the world, regardless of nationality, race, gender, age or economic status. Increasing evidence suggests, however, that minority communities bear a disproportionate share of environmental risk, due in part to a lack of environmental knowledge and unequal access to decision-making processes.

“To achieve its mission of creating knowledge and global leaders for a sustainable future the Nicholas School must engage and educate a population that includes heretofore under-represented groups. Our goal is to undertake a comprehensive effort to build a school culture that values diversity and increase ethnic and gender diversity within our community, with the intent of enabling us to attract and retain the best students, faculty and staff,” the school’s Strategic  Priorities Diversity Committee wrote in its proposal for the new initiatives.

“By engaging and educating a population that includes all of these groups, the Nicholas School will develop a cohort of leaders able to identify, understand, and address the multitude of environmental issues existing today and the impact mankind has on future generations,” the committee wrote.