DEI Survey Report

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) survey: report 

Updated: 16th November 2020

Authors: Caroline A. Figueroa & Ludovica Luisa Vissat

Here we present the information collected through the DEI survey organised by the Berkeley Postdoctoral Association Diversity committee in October 2020. The goal of this survey was to collect information about postdocs’ opinions regarding actions taken by departments and labs at UC Berkeley to promote justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. On this website we present a summary of the results. In the full report, we present in detail the postdoc satisfaction regarding department- and lab-based actions, a list of existing initiatives by department and by lab, and ideas for future changes.


  • 78 postdocs participated in the survey between 15 and 31 October 2020. 

  • On a department/school level, more than half (53.8%) of the postdocs said that their department or school had recently taken actions to discuss and improve DEI issues, but  that more could be done. 16.7% was not aware of any actions taken and 29.5% felt that they were satisfied with their department’s actions. 

  • The most common actions on a department level were sharing of materials (e.g. readings, websites: 63.1%), town halls 49.2%), regular meetings (e.g. monthly or weekly: 47.4%), and designating specific DEI leaders (40%). 

  • On a lab level, less than half of postdocs (43.6%) said that their lab had undertaken actions, but that these were not enough. Almost a third were not aware of any actions taken (28.2%), and almost a third were satisfied (28.2%) with the actions taken.

  • The most common actions taken were sharing of materials material (71.7%) and organising regular meetings (47.4%). 

  • Among ideas presented by postdocs in open ended questions for improving the future of DEI, the following themes came up: upscaling DEI efforts and initiatives, hiring specialized staff for DEI (instead of volunteers), a clear commitment to DEI from a leadership level, improving mentoring for minority students and postdocs, and fostering a sense of community. 

  • Postdocs also mentioned improving hiring practices to increase diversity especially at the postdoc and faculty level, and shared personal experiences with discrimination in academia. 

Caveat: the survey was sent to all the UC Berkeley postdocs by the Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Association (VSPA). Since we wanted to guarantee anonymity, we did not require any form of identification. This implies that we might have some non-postdoc replies and potential double entries.

We still want to hear your ideas!

Thank you to all the postdocs that already took the survey! If you haven’t or if you have more ideas and experiences to share, please fill this anonymous form.