Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP)


The DIAP recognizes that the foundation of Brown is its people, and so the plan focuses first on the composition of our community and ensuring that all community members can thrive.

As diversity, equity and inclusion are central to Brown’s mission of academic excellence, both the initial DIAP and DIAP Phase II are focused on increasing representation, retention and success among students and employees from historically underrepresented groups, as well as women in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Progress in diversity and inclusion efforts for members of our community is summarized below in the order in which initiatives for different groups appears in the DIAP: faculty, graduate students, medical students, undergraduates and staff.


Since the launch of the DIAP, Brown has increased overall representation of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups, from about 8% in the 2014-15 academic year to 13.6% in 2020-21, through updated search, recruitment and hiring processes.

  • The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity launched a new conference to support graduate student women in STEM, which in 2018 was rebranded as the Womxn in STEM Symposium, or WiSTEM, to be more inclusive of trans and nonbinary women.
  • The Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program has served 28 scholars since its launch in 2015 — nine of whom currently hold faculty positions at Brown, with another 13 in faculty positions at institutions around the U.S.
  • The Provost’s Visiting Professors Program, which expands the Brown community’s access to diverse faculty scholars, began in fall 2016 with three visiting professors and continues to attract highly accomplished and visible senior scholars who are making distinctive contributions to their fields.
  • The Faculty of Color Network was launched in fall 2015 and provides one-on-one mentoring opportunities for faculty of color, as well as professional development and networking events.
  • New organizations were created within the Warren Alpert Medical School to support faculty, including the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Faculty Association and Mentoring and Educating Diverse Students and Trainees to Excel as Physicians, or MEDSTEP.

Graduate Students

Brown has seen an increase in its population of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups, from about 9% in fall 2014 to just over 16% in fall 2020, supported by several recruitment and retention initiatives.

Among these programs is the Diversity Preview Day for Ph.D. Students, which invites prospective students from historically underrepresented groups to explore the campus and share their research with the campus community. Another program, Graduate Student of Color Orientation, provides an opportunity for incoming graduate students to learn about identity-focused campus resources and to build community early in their tenure at Brown. In addition, the Graduate School offers supplemental fellowships to highly competitive HUG graduate students.

In DIAP Phase II, Brown will build on these efforts by enhancing support for HUG graduate students through dedicated funding and inclusive programming.

Medical Students

Overall, Brown’s population of medical students from historically underrepresented groups has increased slightly, from 24% in fall 2015 to 25% in fall 2020. The Warren Alpert Medical School has continued to recruit students from groups that are underrepresented in medicine (UiM) through programs such as the Tougaloo Early Identification Program in Medicine — a longstanding pipeline program for the recruitment of students from Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Tougaloo, Miss.

During the 2019-20 academic year, the medical school’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs started a new program, Mentoring and Educating Diverse Students and Trainees to Excel as Physicians (MEDSTEP), with the goal of creating community and structured mentorship within the school for individuals who self-identify as UiM.

Since 2016, the medical school has coordinated efforts for medical recruitment with affiliated residency programs. This includes attending residency fairs at Meharry Medical College, and Howard University College of Medicine, as well as national and regional meetings of the Latino Medical Student Association and the Student National Medical Association. The overall number of house staff/fellows from UiM groups has steadily increased from 8.4% in 2015 to 12.2% in 2019.

Undergraduate Students

In 2014, prior to the launch of the DIAP, undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups represented 20.8% of the total undergraduate student body at Brown. To provide more support to admitted applicants, the University expanded resources for the A Day on College Hill campus immersion event, helping to cover travel expenses for low-income students who had been admitted to the College. Financial resources were also offered to students to visit campus with a parent or guardian if they were unable to attend the event.

With funding support from the University, the offices of College Admission and Financial Aid strengthened their capacity to promote opportunities for high school students of color through an expanded partnership with QuestBridge Scholars, a national college recruitment program that identifies high-achieving high school students from low-income families. Brown has admitted 119 undergraduate students through this partnership since 2018.

As a result of these and other initiatives, the percentage of HUG undergraduates increased to 22.0% in 2020-21. In DIAP Phase II, Brown will continue to focus on attracting and supporting students from historically underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on African American/Black-identifying students.


The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity developed the Administrative Fellows Program, which seeks to nurture talented and diverse staff members who are committed to enhancing their leadership skills and promoting more inclusive and equitable communities within higher education settings. Since the program launched in 2017, 20 staff members have participated in the program, completing projects that promote diversity and inclusion at Brown.

In addition, OIED partnered with University Human Resources in 2019 to launch Understanding the Impact of Unconscious Bias in a University Setting: A Module for Faculty and Staff. This training was developed following an iterative process of focus groups with Brown faculty, students and staff, as well as input from several campus partners throughout multiple phases of project development. Faculty and staff were encouraged to complete the unconscious bias e-learning module and use the accompanying discussion guide to have in-depth conversations within their units. As of January 2021, 1,074 faculty and staff members had completed the training module.

Additional Areas of Progress