To ensure that we maintain a commitment to improving ourselves and the environment in which we work, we are involved in ongoing activities as a group. These include:
Role Model Database
We are compiling a list of scientists from non-dominant backgrounds for instructors to draw from in classroom examples or to consult when inviting speakers to seminars, conferences, panels, etc. We hope to provide this growing list for others to use when trying to increase the representation of minority scientists in teaching spaces. To add your name or that of another awesome scientist, contact Taylor Tai (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include the following in the body of the email: scientist’s name, department, university, email, website, and the topic of research.
Historically, people from non-dominant groups have not been represented in scientific materials and images in the workplace. This can make people from underrepresented backgrounds feel unwelcome in spaces where the focus is centered on dominant groups. For example, a conference room featuring portraits of only white men may make people from non-dominant backgrounds feel alienated. Research shows that this visual underrepresentation can have detrimental effects on students’ desire to participate in a field of study, and even impact their performance and productivity (Cheryan et al 2009). Because this problem persists in today’s work environments, we aim to work with our department to ensure that the images we use in our buildings, newsletters, etc. feature people from diverse backgrounds.
Revisiting Hiring Practices
Although we can’t always eliminate the forces that lead to people being filtered out of science careers (e.g., school funding disparities, gender bias in STEM classes, nepotism in hiring), we can adjust our hiring practices in light of the recognition that they exist. For example, when recruiting new research scientists, graduate students, post-docs, and professors, we can establish objective hiring criteria upfront and place value on non-academic work experiences to make the process more equitable. We can also advertise opportunities to a wider community and use specific language encouraging those from underrepresented backgrounds to apply.
We all harbor unintentional biases and have room to grow when it comes to responding to insensitive comments, harassment, and microaggressions. As a lab we seek out, share, and participate in opportunities for training and education on these topics.
Resources [links not active yet]
Facilitator’s Guide: Talking to your Lab About Inclusivity in Science
Role Model Database
List of Workshops and Trainings Available on Campus
Cheryan, S., Plaut, V. C., Davies, P. G. & Steele, C. M. Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97, 1045–1060 (2009). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968418