Skip to main content
Vanderbilt Background Photo

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Our mission is to solve the world’s most pressing problems through learning, discovery, and service. The world’s problems are complex and tackling them effectively requires an approach empowered by diversity: of academic disciplines, backgrounds, demographics, beliefs, viewpoints, and experiences.

Because of the wide range of faculty expertise and academic departments within the College of Arts and Science, our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is woven into the very fabric of our work, our community, and our mission. We recognize that incorporating diverse perspectives to solve problems enriches the A&S experience for our students, staff, and faculty. This inclusion is essential to our ability to examine issues from multiple perspectives.

In addition to fostering a culture of inclusivity, we also seek to understand and address inequities through a variety of initiatives. Below are but a few examples:

  • The Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program creates a pipeline to increase diversity in the STEM fields. Founded in 2004 at Vanderbilt, it is the first physics and astronomy Ph.D. bridge program in the U.S. and has served as a national model for other institutions across the country.
  • The MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) grant, managed by our Department of Biological Sciences, enables outstanding undergraduates from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups to participate in research opportunities that prepare them for Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences.
  • The Engine for Art, Democracy, and Justice project examines and produces art related to issues of racial and economic justice, particularly in the U.S. South, with the goal of creating a more just and democratic future.
  • One of the key projects in A&S’s Grand Challenge Initiative tackles racial justice, bringing opportunities for courses, research, community engagement, and programming that address the history, context, and future implications of racial justice in the U.S.
  • The Mellon Partners for Humanities Education program aims to further humanities education, research, and collaboration between Vanderbilt University and institutions in the Southeast that are essential to the development of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

We recognize that issues around EDI are dynamic and ever-changing. We do not claim to have definitive answers to these challenging questions, but we are committed to examining and reexamining how to build a truly inclusive intellectual community and, more importantly, to taking action on what we learn.


Dean John Geer formed an A&S faculty Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Engagement to provide counsel and guidance to the dean and the college and strengthen our understanding and our efforts. The committee will explore various aspects of EDI, including but not limited to:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on women faculty
  • Pipeline issues and strategies
  • Equity in faculty promotions

The committee members are:

  • Cynthia Brame (Biological Sciences)
  • Vicki Greene, Committee Chair, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Engagement (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Julián Hillyer (Biological Sciences)
  • Kelly Holley-Bockelmann (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Tara McKay (Medicine, Health, and Society)
  • Jessica Oster (Earth and Environmental Sciences)
  • Paul Taylor (Philosophy)
  • Benigno Trigo (Spanish)
  • Jonathan Waters (Cinema and Media Arts)

Please reach out to Vicki Greene if you have any questions or suggestions.


Message regarding Derek Chauvin verdict

Message on standing united with the AAAPI community