CSWA - Panel DIscussion

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On Tuesday, May 24, 2011 we held a panel discussion during the Boston AAS meeting entitled "Transforming Cultural Norms: Mentoring and Networking Groups for Women and Minorities". 

The discussion highlighted examples of concrete steps to take to enable sustainability, obstacles to be aware of, how to develop allies through making it clear the ways your program champions your institution's priorities, acknowledging the realities of needing to work within existing structures, and the limitations of our recent decadal survey with respect to accomplishing the goals of the 'State of the Profession' white papers.

Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to the conversation. We were very pleased to see the mix of men and women in the audience, although there's definitely work to be done in engaging more senior men in these discussions.

Click here for the resources page distributed at the start of the discussion.

Click here for the videotape we made of the session (thank you BU graduate student!).

Our panelists were:

  1. Marcel Agueros -- astronomy faculty and Director of Columbia University's Bridge to PhD program in the Natural Sciences

  2. Ed Bertschinger -- Chair of the MIT Physics department and deeply involved in a number of mentoring, networking, and cultural change initiatives, member of the CSWA

  3. Kim Coble -- physics/astronomy faculty at Chicago State University, a minority serving institution in Chicago, deeply involved in mentoring and pipeline issues

  4. Meredith Danowski -- astronomy PhD student and co-founder of Boston University's women in STEM mentoring and networking program

  5. James Ulvestad -- NSF-AST director, head of astro2010 demographics study group, and former member of the CSWA


‘Tip of the Hat’ to Hannah Jang-Condell for taking the lead on our next AAS Special Session, where we’ll be able to continue these and related discussions. 

Special Session Title: Increasing Diversity in Your Department

Abstract: Diversity is becoming increasingly important as a component of a successful department.  As examples, the rankings of graduate programs by the National Academies highlight diversity as a criterion and diversity is an important component of the broader impact statements required by NSF proposals.  This special session, hosted by the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, and the Working Group on LGBT Issues, will present hiring policies and practices that have been proven to be effective in increasing both the diversity and the excellence of science departments around the country.  We will recommend steps that departments can take to recruit and retain women, LGBT people, and minorities; discuss what factors contribute to a friendly departmental climate; and demonstrate how to create a diverse department while enhancing academic quality.  We invite members of the AAS community to attend this session to both share their own ideas and learn new ones.