July 2020 Update on Departmental Initiatives
The Bryn Mawr Mathematics Department is aware that we need to engage in deep and sustainable work related to creating learning environments that feel affirming and inclusive to all students, specifically for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and for those from other underrepresented communities within our department.
Our department, similar to our larger society, is experiencing a great moment of reckoning, and issues of race, identity, and power are front and center. Central to this movement for change is the necessity for a serious focus on racial justice in every sector of our society. Within the Math Department at Bryn Mawr, we have decided to engage an external DEI (diversity, equity, & inclusion) consultant and social justice educator, Marta Esquilin, to help us engage in this evaluative process.
Before we can determine the most appropriate course of action to help create a more inclusive and affirming culture within the Mathematics Department, we must first unearth and identify the challenges and strengths that exist. To this end, Marta will be gathering experiences from current math students, majors, alumna, and faculty within the department. She will be gathering this data via confidential focus groups/listening sessions and confidential surveys. After all data has been collected, she will present us with themes and issues that emerged, as well as recommendations for next steps. We will share these themes with our Math community and enlist your feedback and participation in determining how to best address the issues that emerge.
History of African Americans in the mathematical sciences (July 2020)
As part of the Mathematics Department’s ongoing efforts to educate ourselves about the history of race and racism in the U.S., we are also learning about the history of African Americans in the mathematical sciences. A great resource for this information is this summer’s webinar series on Mathematicians of the African Diaspora organized by the PRIME REU at Pomona College. Professor Erica Graham is one of the speakers in the series (links to YouTube videos of the talks are available at the site too).
June 2020 letter: Bryn Mawr Math Stands with Black Lives Matter
Dear Math Students,
Black Lives Matter. We stand together with those across the country and around the world who condemn the murder of George Floyd. His murder is only the latest example of long-standing systemic racism and police brutality. We are outraged that these violations of human dignity continue to happen.
We acknowledge that many of us are largely unaware of the institutions and history of structural racism in America and the profound extent to which Black lives are affected by them. This ignorance perpetuates systemic and other forms of racism which continue to devastate Black people.
We have to do better. The math department commits to learning about the history of racism and oppression in the United States, to understanding how the associated structures are embedded within Bryn Mawr, and to changing these structures within our mathematics community so as to better support our students and colleagues of color. As part of this work, we will educate ourselves about anti-racist and inclusive pedagogies and incorporate these approaches into our ongoing departmental curricular revisions.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions. If you would like to communicate with us anonymously, you may do so at:
The Math Department