Morgridge’s commitment to a workplace where everyone thrives
The Morgridge Institute’s commitment to diversity is an extension of our mission: We must recruit the most talented people from all segments of society to deliver on our promise to make discoveries that improve human health and promote lifelong interest in science. We also must maintain a professional culture where all feel welcome and included.
We can’t afford to leave talent behind. Moreover, women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in American science.
Understanding, learning, and improving are the cornerstones of science. We want to apply these same principles to diversity and inclusion in our workforce. We see the scientific research environment as the ideal environment for inclusion. When we bring people together to discuss ideas and insights, people come to know and value one another. Different perspectives and backgrounds enhance the end results.
The Morgridge Institute is committed to hiring in each job category to reflect diversity in the Dane County population and make 10% progress each year to that target. Our commitment focuses on greater representation of women, people from historically excluded groups, and people from the LBGTQ+ community.
Morgridge completed a DEI survey in January 2022 and that will form the basis for improvements in Morgridge work climate and hiring practices. We recognize that successful initiatives do not happen overnight, and we are committed to long-term progress. Our continuing efforts will be communicated on this site.
What are we doing today?
Here’s a look at five initiatives to increase the representation of underrepresented communities, and to create a welcoming, inclusive environment where every individual feels that they belong and can contribute to our mission of science, research, outreach and education.
- Climate survey
In fall 2021, we undertook an extensive survey of our workplace climate, with a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusiveness. We achieved a more than 65 percent participation rate among roughly 250 staff members and partners. We are working with a diversity consulting firm on analyzing the results and will use it as a foundation for improvement in the years ahead.
- Learning communities
Morgridge has two active staff-initiated and staff-run groups — the DEI Roundtable and the Women’s Café — that are focused on learning about and advocating for better representation, more diverse hiring and improved climate for all at Morgridge. The Roundtable has developed into an advisory group for Morgridge leadership, helping us identify tactics and resources that are especially beneficial to our goals.
- Community outreach
Morgridge has a unique mission for a biomedical research institute — a commitment to sparking public passion for science through outreach and education programs. Since our founding, we have supported and developed programs for students from under-represented backgrounds through our science education programs in partnership with Discovery Outreach. We have long-term partnerships with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane and Milwaukee County, and Upward Bound to participate in a wide range of Morgridge science camps and field trips. We also developed an intensive summer science camp for high school juniors from Wisconsin’s small rural schools, in partnership with the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance.
- Candidate requirements
All candidates applying for principal investigator (PI) positions at Morgridge must provide a diversity statement and demonstrate how they have championed diversity in their science careers.
- Conference sponsorships
The Morgridge administration strongly encourages all scientific staff to expand their horizons by attending major conferences that serve underrepresented groups in science. Morgridge pays 100 percent of costs for the opportunity.
The State of American Science:
The stakes are high for American science. In 2019, Black people, Hispanics, and Native Americans made up only 23 percent of the United States STEM workforce, compared to 30 percent of the general workforce, according to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators. A 2021 study by the Pew Research Center found that women comprise only 27 percent of STEM jobs.
Underrepresented groups with an interest in science also are less likely to stay in the STEM career pipeline than are their white counterparts. One study found more than 40 percent of white undergraduate students with an intended major in STEM graduated with a STEM degree, compared to only 29 percent of Hispanic and 22 percent of Black students with the same interest. And more recent studies warn that the COVID-19 pandemic could make matters worse.
These longstanding inequities can only be improved though greater educational opportunity, professional training, more inclusive hiring practices and awareness that American science belongs to everyone. We need to focus not only on our current workforce, but nurture those who aspire to scientific careers.