The Rubenstein School is committed to enhancing the understanding of the natural world through full inclusion of the unique and valuable perspectives reflected by diverse peoples. We aim to radically change human-environment systems in a just, equitable, and ecological direction.

Diversity Initiatives

Diversity initiatives in the School began in 1988 with USDA grants to support high school outreach and multicultural scholarships. In 1996, faculty and staff formally endorsed the Rubenstein School Diversity Plan.

In 2017, in collaboration with the UVM President's Commission on Inclusive Excellence, the School began work on an Inclusive Excellence Action Plan to address inclusivity within academics, community, environment, and operations in the School.

To more fully engage the entire School community, in the fall of 2017, the School began work on an equity assessment with Dr. Shadiin Garcia of Shoreline Consulting. Concurrently, an undergraduate conducted her senior research thesis on racism in Rubenstein. These research and reflection initiatives took place as activism grew across campus. Following the equity assessment, the School developed its first Inclusive Excellence Action Plan, which was published in 2019.

With the formation of the University Diversity Council (UDC) in the Spring of 2021, the Rubenstein School began a new Inclusive Excellence Action Planning process alongside every academic unit and department at UVM. The process, led by the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, resulted in the development of a new five-year plan, finalized in 2022.

The plan seeks to ensure: 

  • All members feel welcome and included.
  • Equity is centered in our curriculum, business practices, and policies.
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth are available to all.
  • Our curriculum reflects diverse perspectives and ways of knowing and being in the environment.

Learn more:

IDEA Committee

The Rubenstein School's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) Committee (formerly Diversity Task Force created in 1991). This volunteer group of faculty, staff, and students is committed to issues of diversity and was instrumental in creation of the School's Diversity Plan. Through regular meetings and community activities scheduled during the academic year, IDEA generates and contributes to the development of diversity initiatives in curricular and other programming and events in the Rubenstein School. The IDEA Committee also works closely on University-wide diversity efforts.

View a list of past speakers hosted by the Committee and School.


The Rubenstein School curriculum reflects multicultural perspectives. For example, as part of a University-wide requirement, undergraduate students complete 6 credits of race and culture course work. 

Learn more about the diversity curriculum in our School.

Recruitment & Retention

An important component of the Rubenstein School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives is to increase the enrollment and satisfaction of BIPOC students in the school. We provide financial resources, mentorship, and support to recruit and retain students of color. Our experiential learning and professional development funds are one example, available to all enrolled students, they ensure that students gain valuable experience conducting research and exploring career pathways through internships in the environment. Funds from the Rubenstein School ensure that internships have adequate funding for students to maintain a livable wage during the summer months. Our Multicultural Scholars and Fellows Program is another example of a system of support within the Rubenstein School for BIPOC students.

The Rubenstein School is developing an Enrollment Management Plan with a scheduled publication date of Summer 2022. For questions about recruitment and retention resources and activities within the Rubenstein School contact Recruitment & Retention Coordinator Akol Aguek.