13 May 2019

AGU’s Latest Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

Posted by Joshua Speiser

AGU President Robin Bell, President-Elect Susan Lozier, and CEO/Executive Director Chris McEntee

As one of the first scientific societies to define bullying and harassment as a form of scientific misconduct, and now with our updated Talent Pool Strategy, the new AGU Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, the selection of a committee chair and members, the recently launched AGU Ethics and Equity Center, biennial Diversity and Inclusion training for all Board and Council members, and the 2018 Annual Ethics Summary Report, AGU continues to show itself as a leader on issues related to scientific ethics within the Earth and space scientific sciences. Over the past 18 months, AGU has continued to expand its efforts to advance and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) leading practices across the Earth and space sciences. This work is very important for AGU. As those in leadership positions at AGU, we view it as critical for our mission.

Building on our 2018 updates to the AGU Talent Pool and the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans, in February 2019, AGU launched the Ethics and Equity Center with the goal of providing AGU members, partnering organizations, and our colleagues in the Earth and space sciences the resources to educate, promote, and ensure responsible scientific conduct and establish tools, practices, and data for organizations to foster a positive work climate in science. Since then, we have continued our efforts to promote and raise the profile of diversity and inclusion at AGU. Now we are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lisa White to chair the AGU Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the selection of Committee members.

Revised Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Convened in October 2017, the AGU Diversity and Inclusion Task Force developed and the AGU Board and Council have now approved a new AGU Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The vision outlined in this report is that “Diversity and Inclusion are recognized and celebrated as essential for the success of AGU, its members, and the global Earth and Space Science enterprise.” Working collaboratively, the Task Force identified five goals that address key aspects of diversity and inclusion: The culture of the Earth and space sciences; the climate of AGU operations for its members; AGU members as agents of change; AGU’s leadership role within the larger Earth and space science community; and AGU as a model organization for promoting diversity in science.

“A diverse and inclusive community of researchers ready to lead the way is essential to solving these global-scale challenges. Bias, harassment, and discrimination create a hostile work climate, undermining the entire global scientific enterprise and its ability to benefit humanity,” said Billy Williams, AGU Vice President of Ethics. “The revised AGU Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan is a natural progression from the update of AGU’s ethics policy two years ago. This updated ethics policy defined harassment and bullying as scientific misconduct. This plan will provide AGU with a road map to support a more vibrant, equitable, and inclusive Earth and space science community.”

Selection of an Advisory Committee

To achieve these goals, AGU governance sought a leader to spearhead this effort. Dr. Lisa White, the Director of Education and Outreach with the University of California Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, was chosen to chair the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Prior to her position at UC Berkeley, Dr. White worked for 22 years at San Francisco State University where she held the positions of Professor of Geosciences and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

“I look forward to the opportunity to chair the AGU Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and I appreciate the incredible work of the Task Force in defining a range of goals and strategies to advance diversity and inclusion within our community,” she said. “As I reflect on my 33 years of membership in AGU, the increasing awareness of the value of diversity within the organization over that time is promising. With the concrete suggestions and recommendations of the Committee, I’m optimistic we can make significant progress towards instituting more inclusive practices and achieving D&I goals within AGU and across the profession”

Dr. White is supported by a committee comprised of D&I experts and 15 AGU members from across the spectrum of the Earth and space sciences. The committee is charged with helping to facilitate “steps AGU staff and members should take across all AGU programs to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in the AGU Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.”

2018 Annual Ethics Summary Report

We are also proud to share with you the 2018 Annual Ethics Summary Report which highlights advancements in AGU ethics programming over the past year, and includes information on the disposition of all formal complaints made to AGU in the previous calendar year, the number of ethics cases handled and their current status. The report takes a high-level look at new developments and partnerships around AGU’s scientific integrity and professional ethics work.

We are proud that these efforts continue with the support and expertise of the AGU community and will endeavor to keep up the momentum.