Diversity & Inclusion

The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago values diversity, equity, and inclusion in astronomy. Students, postdocs, and faculty are working together to improve departmental support for under-represented groups in astronomy. Some examples of initiatives within our department are a joint faculty/student Equity and Inclusion Council and a student-run Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy (IDEA) group. These initiatives seek to make the department more diverse and inclusive by modifying our admissions process, improving the mentorship programs, and establishing stronger ties to under-represented groups in our community. Our department has a long history of public outreach within Chicago Public Schools and at Adler Planetarium. Additional diversity and inclusion initiatives are supported by the UChicago Physical Sciences Division including peer mentoring programs and grants for promoting inclusive climates in science.

The Department adheres to the University of Chicago's policies and procedures for dealing with harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. These policies apply to all members of the University community as well as to Department visitors. To report an incident of Harassment, Discrimination, or Sexual Misconduct, go to the Get Help link.

The Department also embraces and adheres to the University's policy on Freedom of Expression and has a set of the  Department Community Values.

Department Community Values

The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics recognizes the value of diversity, respect and the free exchange of ideas in the scientific enterprise. We also recognize our shared responsibility in upholding these values which benefit the entire Department  community - Department members, staff and visitors. Specifically, we are committed to:

  • Scientific integrity: We aspire to the highest professional and ethical standards of conduct in our research, management of that research, and communications about our research.
  • Respectful interactions: We respect the broad spectrum of views that are essential for scientific research. Each individual's contributions will be treated with civility and we strive to create the kind of collegial environment that promotes excellent science.
  • Welcoming climate: We strive to create an environment in which all members of the Department community feel comfortable, protected from harassment and free of inappropriate behavior.
  • Diversity & inclusion: We strive for an inclusive environment that embraces the differences inherent in a diverse community. Diversity includes race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, age, cultural background, nationality, military status, financial status, discipline or field, and career experience.

Anyone who has concerns about behavior inconsistent with our community values may contact one of the two Department Ombudspersons, whose roles include providing advice on possible courses of action and, if appropriate, making a recommendation for action to the Department  Equity and Inclusion Council.

Nothing in this statement of values should be construed as conflicting with UChicago's policies and procedures for dealing with harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. These policies and procedures apply to all members of the Department community.

Department Ombudspersons

The Department Ombudspersons are available to provide private and independent advice for anyone in the Department community, which includes Department members, staff and visitors. The Ombudspersons assist in identifying options for dealing with violations of the Department Community Values. The Department Ombudspersons report only to the Department Equity and Inclusion Council. The Ombudspersons are also familiar with UChicago's policies and procedures on harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct and can provide assistance in identifying appropriate UChicago resources.

  • Ombudsperson: Leslie Rogers
  • Ombudsperson: Bob Rosner