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Diversity and Inclusion

Mission and Goals

The Department of Food Science and Technology (FST) commits to diversity and inclusivity through fostering an open and welcoming environment for all former, present and future members and collaborators of the department. 

FST works to:

  • Promote a learning and working climate that acknowledges and celebrates diversity 
  • Promote inclusion, acceptance, and respect for all members of our community, especially those from underrepresented groups
  • Increase faculty, staff and student diversity


  • Empowering the FST Diversity and Inclusion Committee to lead initiatives that address the above-mentioned efforts 
  • Employing inclusive practices that ensure accessible and safe classrooms, labs, and shared department spaces
  • Organizing activities that strengthen our community through shared learning, relationship development, collegiality and communication. 
  • Rejecting all forms of injustice, unequal treatment and intolerance

Diversity and Inclusion Resources at Virginia Tech:

Upcoming Events

New events coming soon. Stay tuned. 

  • Advancing Diversity Mid-Year Gathering - Jan. 12 from 8 am to 4 pm:  The Advancing Diversity Gathering is an InclusiveVT Touchpoint event. Diversity stakeholders gather to discuss compelling concerns and share best practices occurring across campus.
  • 6th Annual Uplifting Black Men Conference - Feb. 27 from 10 am to 4 pm:  Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, this conference is held annually to inspire and empower this generation of Black men to achieve any goals that they want—to promote the importance of the journey and the work associated. 
  • MLK 2021: We Cannot Walk Alone - Jan. 18 through March 7:  Virginia Tech will honor and remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of events beginning Monday, Jan. 18, with a live keynote address by Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, at 5 p.m. ET. This year's theme is “We Cannot Walk Alone.”
  • Unfinished Conversations on Race: Anti-Racist Teaching - Feb. 19 at 12 p.m.:  The next seminar in InclusiveVT's Unfinished Conversations on Race discussion series, Drs. Jacob Lahne, Kwame Harrison and Rosanna Breaux will discuss anti-racist teaching practices for educators. Moderated by Dr. Michele Deramo. 
  • Principles of Community Week - March 8-12:  A week of events to help the Virginia Tech community reflect on the principles that guide the institution’s values. During this seven-day period, Virginia Tech’s Office for Inclusion and Diversity will host a panel on indigenous identity, several International Women's Day events, a conversation with PoC award recipients, and more to celebrate the university’s Principles of Community. These precepts aim to create a culture of inclusion at Virginia Tech and an environment that nurtures learning and growth.
  • Black Feminist Research Ethics: The Role and Impact of Black Feminist Researchers Locally and Globally - April 9 at 1 p.m.:  As part of the Division of Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance (SIRC) Investigator Series, Andrea N. Baldwin, assistant professor of women's and gender studies and Africana studies in the Department of Sociology, will lead a presentation on the role and impact of Black feminist researchers. The SIRC Investigator Series: Conversations with Researchers initiative provides Virginia Tech researchers with a forum to share the ethical considerations that guide their research. Baldwin will be discussing the responsibility Black feminist academics have to their communities - scholarly and otherwise - to conduct research that produces knowledge bearing witness to their humanity.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee Membership

Committee Chair: Dr. Sean O'Keefe

Reporting an Act of Discrimination, Bias or Sexual Misconduct

The Virginia Tech Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault applies to all undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech. Anyone wishing to report an act of discrimination, bias, harassment or misconduct can do so formally to the Office of Equity and Accessibility (OEA) via their digital complaint form. For those who wish to speak to someone about this process prior to filing a complaint, please contact OEA to schedule an appointment. 

In addition, incidents involving students may be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students via their bias reporting page. This form is not anonymous but the reporter’s identity will only be known by appropriate university staff members, and any action taken as a result of submitting this report is driven by the reporter unless it requires the involvement of other campus resources.

The Graduate School has a form for reporting academic bullying, which is any intentional behavior throughout the academic space targeted at an individual or group that is repeated, hostile or offensive, and creates an intimidating and/or threatening environment which produces a risk of psychological and/or physical harm. More resources on recognizing and preventing academic bullying can be found on their Disrupting Academic Bullying page

Virginia Tech Principles of Community

As a part of Virginia Tech, FST embraces the VT Principles of Community in its on-going efforts to nurture and maintain a community that values inclusivity and equity. These principles serve as underlying guidance in all that the department does to make sure everyone feels equally a part of the FST family.