Equity, Diversity and Inclusion matters

23 February 2022

EAIT staff were recently sent a link to an article titled “I am”. It appeared in Nature in 2021 and its message seems to resonate as strongly with others as it does with us.  

The email trail included comments, such as  “such a powerful commentary on the value of diversity – of all kinds” and “I really like his message about vulnerability in academia and his focus on individual values”.

All of us, to greater or lesser degrees, have vulnerabilities that we think might disadvantage us if they were widely known or exposed.  In truth they are just aspects of who we are.

The culture at our place of work, and more broadly the culture of society we live in, shouldn’t encourage us to deny ourselves or judge us for those things that make us different.  Rather, it should acknowledge, appreciate, and, from time-to-time, celebrate the differences between us.

The author of “I am”, Professor Jef Caers, is a Petroleum Engineer in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental sciences, Stanford University.

He writes:

“I am a gay man, I am bipolar, I am HIV positive, I am a crystal meth addict”.  

He explains how these things have challenged him personally and professionally, his journey to being open about them, and a reflection on how this journey has benefited his personal and professional life including the creativity of his research. He identifies sharing individual values with colleagues and students as an important part of this.

All of us should read this piece; it only takes a few minutes. But be warned, there’s homework.  It’s not set by us, but by Professor Caers:

“I encourage you to open up to a person you like. Share with that person you are struggling, and they will likely share their own struggle.  …

To share not just about your failures, but about the feeling arising from them. Identity dissipates when everyone becomes vulnerable.”

The Faculty’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion committee has been developing a plan for how we can build our EAIT culture so that barriers that inhibit any of us reaching our potential are removed. Everyone in EAIT has a role in this, including the occasional piece of homework.

We encourage staff to visit https://internal.eait.uq.edu.au/office/general-faculty-information to learn more about the EAIT EDI Committee.


Professor Ross McAree and Karen Perkins
EAIT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-chairs.