We are ISR: DEI Working Group Leader Interviews

Nancy Calvin-Naylor

Nancy Calvin-Naylor

Nancy Calvin-Naylor

Staff Working Group Co-Lead

Why did you choose to take on a leadership role for a DEI working group?
There were several reasons I wanted to do this, not the least of which is my commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In my graduate program, my department conducted a significant amount of the research on the effects of diversity on students for the U-M cases on affirmative action in college admissions that went before the Supreme Court, and this really sparked a deep passion in me to make a difference. My dissertation focused on contrasting methodological approaches to understanding campus climate as a result, comparing traditional climate surveys with ecological momentary assessments. I also wanted to get involved in an Institute-wide project to get to know other people in other units; having been at ISR for nearly two years now, I felt a little too insulated within my own group, and the DEI staff working group offered a great opportunity for professional development.

What do you find most rewarding about being part this effort?
Without a doubt, getting to know the people in this working group has been incredibly rewarding! They are busy, hard-working professionals who are willing to give unstintingly of themselves to this effort. They’re also a nice group of folks and we have a lot of fun! Ultimately, I think we are working on some projects that will make a real difference for the Institute. It’s really great to be part of the larger DEI work at ISR.

What do you see as some of ISR’s greatest opportunities in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
ISR attracts people from a wide array of disciplines and that is a considerable strength. I am continually delighted to find people at ISR from all walks of life who are intellectually curious and who push the boundaries of knowledge. That curiosity speaks to an open and accepting mindset that is so important to the intentional creation of conditions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We can apply that mindset to develop creative recruitment strategies that will attract diverse candidate pools and to enhancing professional development and career progression opportunities to promote retention. Such efforts do not demand a significant overhaul of process nor do they require huge resource commitments.

What is your favorite thing to do in the winter?
I have a number of hobbies, such as rock collecting and polishing, crocheting, reading, and working on projects around the house. Mostly I love to curl up in front of the fireplace and dream about going kayaking in the summer!


Rita Bantom

Rita Bantom

Rita Bantom

Staff Working Group Co-Lead

Why did you choose to take on a leadership role for a DEI working group?
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has always been a passion of mine, and I have been involved in this work for many years – providing a voice to minority groups, the underserved and the under-resourced. I understand how it feels to be the only person of color in the room and have experienced microaggressions, inequitable experiences, and incidents of exclusion. I know firsthand how it feels. As a mother of two little girls, it is a priority for me to champion change in and out of the work place in order for them to have greater opportunities and be judged by their character, efforts, work ethnic, and values. Also, it has been a pleasure to chair ISR Reads, a social justice book club and having the opportunity to explore these topics, and to recently lead the Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations for ISR.

What do you find most rewarding about being part this effort?
As a Human Resources professional, it has always been my responsibility to be vigilant in promoting the work of diversity, and this is an amazing opportunity for synergy all across campus in a structured and meaningful way that should provide greater success in this endeavor.

What do you see as some of ISR’s greatest opportunities in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Diversity is no longer a social responsibility or politically correct mantra. It is a way of life, and by truly embracing the concepts of DEI and understanding the benefits of a diverse workplace, ISR will be very successful and truly a leader in social science. This means that we have to embrace differences and demonstrate that we value all individuals and their contributions by being more inclusive and reviewing all of our policies, procedures and cultural norms. This is especially necessary in expanding our comfort zones and purposefully including people into conversations, meetings and the workplace who may not look like you, think like you or have the same background and experience.

What is your favorite thing to do in the winter?
My family loves snow and being outside. Ice skating, sledding and downhill skiing are fun! After being outside, my favorite part of the day is to spend time at home in pajamas eating a big comforting meal near the fire and watching a movie or reading a great book!


Saundra Schneider

Saundra Schneider, photo courtesy of MSU.

Saundra Schneider, photo courtesy of MSU.

Educational Programs Working Group Co-Lead

Why did you choose to take on a leadership role for a DEI working group?
I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in instructional training programs, not only through my long-standing involvement with the ICPSR Summer Program but also with other educational programs in the U.S. and around the world. I feel that it is extremely important way to emphasize respect for others, facilitate a more collegial environment, and create an atmosphere that enables everyone to succeed.

What do you find most rewarding about being part this effort?
One of the most rewarding aspects of this effort is the ability to learn how others within ISR are working towards the same goal: To achieve and sustain greater diversity, equity, and inclusiveness across ISR.

What do you see as some of ISR’s greatest opportunities in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
ISR already influences a broad spectrum of the social science community through its research, instructional, and service activities. I hope that through the efforts of the DEI working group on education, as well as those of other DEI working groups, ISR’s reach can be extended even further to attract and retain a more diverse population of social scientists.

What is your favorite thing to do in the winter?
My favorite thing to do in the winter is to watch silly movies, eat popcorn, and look forward to spring and summer where the days are longer and the weather warmer!

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