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In the WELS Research Group, we are committed to equitable and just research that furthers our understanding of humans and their interactions with the environment. We believe that the most effective and meaningful research is borne out of engaged and meaningful collaboration with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Those who will be successful in the WELS group have an interest in interdisciplinary research, in understanding the role and value of diversity and equity to achieve justice in research, and a capacity for skills development related to social science research, quantitative analysis methods, and participatory and engaged scholarship.

What is BJEDAI, and why do we need it?

In all that we do, the WELS research group honors and amplifies the principles of Belonging, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusivity (BJEDAI). At the forefront of our work as scholars and researchers, we recognize that inequity and injustice have and continue to have a lasting impact on the environment and environmental challenges we face. Our work, at the intersection of human and environmental wellbeing, is aimed at understanding these challenges and centering research that supports just, equitable, and inclusive solutions to environmental problems.

Science does not operate in a bubble. Scientific issues are societal issues, and societal issues, such as racism, bias, and personal safety, are problems that the scientific community must address. BJEDAI is critical in all aspects of the work we do to ensure our pursuits are just, equitable, and impactful. DIVERSITY supports innovation, sustainable solutions, and robust leadership. This includes diversity of gender and gender identities, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religion, ability, nationality, sexuality, socioeconomics, and broader worldviews, among other characteristics. Incorporating diversity in our research and teaching is essential in ensuring that our work is representative of society and overcomes historical inequities in science and society more broadly. ACCESSIBILITY facilitates diversity and inclusion by giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. By making information, activities, and/or environments sensible, meaningful, and usable for as many people as possible and those with disabilities, we strengthen the impact of our work and invite all to engage with it. 

EQUITY facilitates diverse perspectives by ensuring that anyone can have a meaningful “seat at the table”. Equitable access to resources that support self-actualization (e.g. healthcare, education, economic opportunities, mentorship) empowers the pursuit of passions and brings diverse perspectives to spaces where they may be absent. Inclusion ensures that all have a voice. Across sectors, and particularly in academia, we struggle to meet our long-term goals of diversity and equity because of a lack of considerations surrounding inclusion. INCLUSION means that all perspectives and experiences are valued equally and that all are empowered to engage and take ownership and leadership in the work they do. In an academic setting, this may mean considerations for different types of learning; in a research setting, this may mean considerations for different ways of knowing. BELONGING is core to our work. Belonging is a feeling of safety that enables someone to be their true self, able to contribute authentically without fear of backlash or retribution. By making spaces welcoming and accessible, by advocating for diversity and strategies for inclusion, by acknowledging inequity, injustice, and bias when it occurs, we create a culture that facilitates belonging and supports long term success for all in science. Finally, the principles of diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and belonging are rooted in Justice. JUSTICE in our scientific and academic efforts requires acknowledging injustice, marginalization, oppression, and it's history within science. A justice approach centers our responsibility for making change in our field and examining our own beliefs and behaviors in order to avoid colluding with systemic injustice.

How we promote and maintain BJEDAI principles in the WELS Research Group

  • We honor the whole person, with the recognition that our lived experiences influence our science and vice versa

  • We promote and maintain an environment free from discrimination or harassment regardless of background (including but not limited to race, sex, body size, sexual orientation, gender expression, or disability)

  • We discuss societal and ethical issues that affect our group members and others in the community 

  • We advocate for constructive changes on a larger level, such as at the institutional, local, and national levels

  • When safe, we point out problematic behavior 

  • We are accountable to, and for, each other 

  • We are receptive to constructive criticism 

  • We support engagement  in outreach that advances BJEDAI principles

  • We aim to use inclusive language and respect each individual’s pronouns

  • We listen to and accommodate the accessibility needs of all research group members

  • We create space in our discussions and research to highlight work from excluded/marginalized scientists


As a research group, we recognize that incorporating BJEDAI principles into our work and daily activities is not an easy or comfortable process. It requires self-reflection, acknowledging our biases and shortcomings, and a great deal of work to understand and unpack the systems, practices, policies, and histories that influence our science and scientific environments. We are dedicated to learning, growing, and doing the work for our benefit and the benefit of the communities our research aims to impact. 


Additional BJEDAI resources


Teaching & Learning


Some of the language of this BJEDAI statement was borrowed with permission from the Reider lab

Purple Background

Dr. Bailey's Teaching Philosophy.

Dr. Bailey firmly believes that the most effective teaching tool is enthusiasm. Anyone who has spent time in a classroom, lecture hall, or presentation, knows the value of an enthusiastic presenter. People learn best when they are engaged, excited, and invested, and the passion of an educator is the best way to facilitate such engagement. My teaching philosophy stems from this belief. My goal as an educator is to provide a learning environment that yields excitement for a topic, and the first step I take is demonstrating my own enthusiasm as a model. I have always been avid student and life-long learner. This enthusiasm for knowledge makes me eager to share my passion for learning with all students and puts me in a position to be a personable, approachable, and effective educator.

By creating a learning environment where students are enthusiastic, engaged, and serving as managers of their own learning, they are also becoming critical thinkers. My primary goal is to equip students with the skills necessary to view the world around them with a critical eye; to develop the skills to ask novel questions, create novel solutions, and become life-long leaders. In so doing, the impacts of education reach far beyond the classroom, to the betterment of our world. Preparing students to think critically also involves providing a space to explore issues of diversity and equity, particularly as our global society becomes increasingly interconnected. ​Teaching is an absolute joy and an incredible honor. It is an opportunity to share my passions with eager minds and inspire them to explore and discover passions of their own. 

Fucsia Background

​My goal as a researcher is to improve our scientific understanding of both the social and ecological worlds and their complex interactions. I view my research through both my dedication to social justice and equity and my passion for conserving wildlife and nature. I conduct my research with the understanding that all systems are coupled; they are both social and ecological. It is critical that we work towards a nuanced and holistic understanding of the dynamics within these coupled systems. My interest in coupled human-natural systems stems from my inherent love of nature and wildlife and my personal experiences as a member of a historically marginalized group.  I began my graduate studies interested in environmental change and its impacts on wildlife ecology and conservation. That interest, while still a passion of mine, shifted in scope as I observed the often marginal and inequitable environments that people all over the world depend on. I now focus my research on understanding the complicated relationships between people and the natural resources on which we all rely. My specific research goals are 1) to conduct research that encourages sustainable livelihood strategies in the face of global climate and land-use change, 2) investigate the feedback between environmental change, wildlife ecology, and natural resource-based livelihoods, and 3) expand our understanding of social-environmental systems through methodologies (such as remote sensing and agent-based modeling) that allow us to isolate patterns and processes that drive the dynamics of them.

​I am also interested in investigating environmental change from the perspective of those suffering due to a lack of inclusion and equality. This includes research within the fields of environmental justice, political ecology, and human geography. My specific research goal is to increase diversity in environmental planning, law, management, and research. As I continue this research and my career, I constantly seek out any opportunities to grow as a researcher and improve my ability to work toward equality, diversity, and inclusion. My goal as a researcher is to improve our scientific understanding of both the social and ecological worlds and their complex interactions. I view my research through both my dedication to social justice and equity and my passion for conserving wildlife and nature.

Dr. Bailey's Research Philosophy.

Blue to Cream Gradient

The WELS Group is committed to working with diverse populations underrepresented in STEM fields. We engage in this work through many different societies and organizations aimed at BJEDAI principles and diversity in STEM. Click the links below to learn more about some of the organizations we work with. We also work with faculty,  students, and local organizations to bring together diverse audiences for networking, collaboration, professional development, and intellectual exchange.

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