Reconstructing an Oceanographic Campus: Insights on Scripps’ Journey to a More Inclusive Culture

Alyssa Jean Griffin, Osinachi Ajoku and Keiara Auzenne, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States
The oceanography field has struggled to make meaningful strides in diversity over the past 40 years. Beginning with a student-led initiative in 2016, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps) created and funded a full-time Diversity Initiatives Coordinator (SDIC), to develop and implement strategies to establish diversity and inclusion as core values throughout all aspects of Scripps. The hiring process was a campus-wide effort that involved Scripps students, staff and faculty as well as leadership from other University of California, San Diego (UCSD) departments. The SDIC also oversees two paid positions for Scripps graduate students to serve as Community Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellows, with the goal of improving campus climate and enhancing cultural awareness and education. Together these positions constitute the Scripps Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team which strives to 1) increase the representation of underrepresented students, faculty and staff to better match available pools of talent, 2) build a community that embraces and celebrates all forms of diversity and culture, and 3) inform and advise Scripps leadership on trends, challenges and successes regarding EDI within Scripps. Since its inception, the team has conducted various activities and programming to support EDI, including, but not limited to: implicit bias trainings, community conversations, and events celebrating community members’ contributions to EDI. The SDIC also serves on a variety of Scripps and UCSD-wide committees to facilitate Scripps’ EDI-related goals and objectives. The Scripps EDI Team will share our successes and struggles as well as discuss future plans and efforts. It is our hope to model a successful pathway for other institutions to invest in and promote EDI values through a commitment to strategic outreach, programming and support.