Dean's Message

Dean's Message on Equity & Inclusion

The College of Arts & Sciences takes inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) as our orienting values in all that we do. We support and promote teaching, scholarship, and service that uncover contemporary challenges to these ideals and design novel solutions to the persistence of inequity and discrimination in our state and beyond. We strive to ensure mutual respect for all members of our academic community of faculty, staff, and students, and foster an environment in which their important IDEA-related work can thrive.

The College recognizes that the commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access present challenges that are dynamic and that require innovative approaches to solve. We would be foolish to think that we have definitive answers to these challenging topics, but we are committed to supporting research and learning that gets us closer to an equitable and inclusive intellectual community. In that quest, we must continue to reflect on ourselves as well, on our programs, and on the human condition as we examine our current limitations and imagine more just futures.

One of the meanings of the “&” in Arts & Sciences is about bridging differences for the common good—for the good of our students, for the good of our faculty, and for the good of our communities. As Dean, I take the logic of this “&” seriously as a marker of the communities that we must continue to forge together in our mutual commitment to a more diverse, equitable, & just nation. 

A&S faculty, staff, students, and alumni throughout the college are involved in innovative ways that we might promote meaningful conversations around IDEA work.

  • Our African-American Studies program will continue its efforts to lead us as we grapple with race as a powerful and persistent social construct that serves to divide us;
  • We have redoubled our interdisciplinary Race in America speaker series as it continues to be a source of intellectual and practical sustenance on this topic.
  • We are focused on mental health during these troubled times. Our MSU Psychology Clinic remains at the forefront of training a generation of clinical psychologists who recognize that all voices, viewpoints, and backgrounds make vital contributions to our understanding of society and human behavior.
  • Our Gender Studies program will continue its scholarship and outreach to expose the compounding harms of gender- and sexuality-based discrimination.
  • The A&S IDEA Committee will lead the college in accounting for the ongoing effects of our shared histories of discrimination, as well as proposing college-wide initiatives to make A&S a truly inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible space.

On the following pages, you will find information about researchers working in A&S to advance the IDEA mission, programming we offer throughout the year, and the composition of the IDEA committee. We welcome your insights and participation in this important mission.

Rick Travis, PhD
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Professor, Political Science and Public Administration
Mississippi State University