Initial Publication Date: February 16, 2018

Diversity--Is Your Department Inclusive and Welcoming for ALL Students, Staff and Faculty?

Diversity is an opportunity, not an obstacle. Our profession is stronger if we embrace the diversity of people, interests, experiences and abilities. We can't afford to waste human capital. Is your department/program/workplace welcoming for all people? Are you proactively recruiting to broaden participation in the geosciences? Here are references that address why this is important, and what you can do to address this issue.

  • The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, Scott Page, 2015 Princeton University Press; research shows that diverse groups regularly outperform homogenous groups made up of the highest individual performers. It goes through the framework for all of it, and explains why this is the case. (Contributed by Carolyn Brinkworth)
  • How Diversity Makes us Smarter--Katherine Phillipps, Scientific American, October 1, 2014.
  • Reducing Stereotype Threat--rich resources on the nature of the problem, strategies for addressing the issue, extensive bibliography and other resources.
  • Diversity and Inclusion--Put it in the Syllabus!--This posting offers a tangible strategy for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) faculty who want to address diversity and inclusion. It is by Prof. Monica Linden (Neuroscience, Brown University) and Mary Wright, Ph.D. (Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University). See also Sheridan's newsletter. © 2017 Brown University. Reprinted with Permission.From Tomorrow's Professor, message number 1625.
  • Mukasa, S. B., 2009, Underrepresentation of women and minority awardees in geoscience societies. Elements, 5, 2, 77-78.

Guidance for developing diversity programs

Hiring a Diverse Faculty

Practical advice for departments to hire a diverse faculty can be found at: Resources and Strategies for Recruiting a Diverse Faculty--from the NAGT Building Strong Departments program.

  • 10 Requests for Search Committee Members--Robert Dulaire, from Inside Higher Education, posted September 6, 2018: "A graduate student applicant offers advice on how such committees can operate in much more productive and humane ways when it comes to their hiring practices."

Broadening Participation in the Geosciences

Numerous programs funded by the National Science Foundation and other institutions have developed substantial resources to support broadening participation in the geosciences:

Teaching Activities

Mentoring for Success

  • AGU's Mentoring365 Program--With its revamped platform, Mentoring365 strives to improve mentorship opportunities for young geoscientists and early-career professionals. "The effectiveness of our science on the world around us, including economic, environmental, and human health conditions around the globe, will depend upon growing a diverse and inclusive community of researchers", Eric Davidson AGU President, Octoer 11, 2018.

People with Disabilities

LGBQT Community

General References for Students from Underrepresented Groups

Focus on Hispanic Students

  • Why are there so few Hispanic students in the Geosciences? – P.J. Stokes, R. Levine, and K. Flessa, (2013), GSA Today, v. 24 #1, doi: 10.1130/GSATG176GW.1.
  • Lisa C. Hammersley, R Levine, K Cornwell, J. E. Kusnick, B. P. Hausback, The Geology of Mexico: A Quantitative Evaluation of a Course Designed to Increase the Number of Hispanic Students Participating in the Geosciences at California State University, Sacramento, Journal of Geoscience Education, 2012, 60, 2, 189.

Focus on Afro-American Students

  • Effective Strategies to Increase Diversity in STEM Fields; A Review of the Research Literature-–L. Tsui, 2007, the Journal of Negro Education, v. 76 #4, pp. 555-581.

Focus on Native American Students

  • Weaving Native Knowledge into STEM Teaching and Learning at Tribal Colleges and Universities (2008). Prepared by Systemic Research Inc, Jason Kim and Linda Crasco; A report based on TCUP Self Evaluation Templates (TSET), Tribal colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) sponsored by NSF.
  • Riggs, E.M., 2005, Field-based education and indigenous knowledge: Essential components of geoscience education for Native American communities. Science Education, v. 89, p. 296-313. doi: 10.1002/sce.s0032.
  • Riggs. E.M., Robbins, E., and Darner, R., 2007, Sharing the land: Attracting Native American students to the geosciences. Journal of Geoscience Education, v 55, p. 478-485.
  • Riggs, E.M., and Semken, S.C., 2001, Culture and Science: Earth science for Native Americans. Geotimes, 46, 14-17.

A Focus on Women

From the AGI Status of the Workforce report: "Women are under-represented in the geosciences workplace, and women of color even more so. Women earned 39% of Bachelor's degrees in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) in 2014 (NSF, 2017); 74% of these were white (14% unknown; AGI, 2017). They earned 43% of doctoral degrees (NSF, 2017); 60% were white (15% unknown; AGI, 2017). And although women have been earning more than 1/3 of the PhDs in EAS for the last 13 years, only 15% of full professor positions (AGI, 2017). Women of color represent less than 5% of geoscience degrees and 1% of all faculty positions in all STEM fields (NSF, 2017).
Women account for 47% of the US workforce, but only 28% of geoscientists and environmental scientists. Further, women hold only 15% of full professor positions despite earning 43% of doctoral degrees. Women of color represent less than 5% of geoscience degrees and less than 1% of all faculty positions, despite minorities comprising 36% of the US population."

Intersectionality or Double Jeopardy

From the Athena Swan program: "Intersectionality means recognising that people's identities and social positions are shaped by several factors, which create unique experiences and perspectives. These factors include, among others: sexuality, gender, race, disability, age, and religion. Individuals can experience complex discrimination, based on a combination of elements of their identity. It is therefore important that institutions' equality and diversity work – aimed at tackling discrimination – is mindful of this complexity when exploring issues and developing solutions. If an intersectional approach is not taken, the discrimination and barriers experienced by some individuals will not be fully understood and tackled."

Cultural Sensitivity/Literacy