15 May 2019
Dr. Jenny Riker, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK and Member of AGU Board of Directors
On April 25th, AGU’s Board met at the recently renovated headquarters in Washington, DC. Over the course of several days, the Board covered a lot of ground. Here are some of the highlights:
Diversity, Ethics, and Inclusion
- AGU Vice President of Ethics Billy Williams presented an update about AGU‘s recent diversity, ethics, and inclusion efforts including the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report; the joint Earth Science Woman Network National Science Foundation grant; the launch of the Ethics and Equity Center, and the revised Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
- There was also discussion about how to best ensure that AGU’s diversity, ethics, and inclusion efforts in the United States can be effectively replicated in other countries that are home AGU Earth and space scientists – as well as in nations where AGU does not have a presence – in culturally sensitive ways including by building a global program of resources that can be as needed
- The balance between leading on open, accessible science and the financial implications of such leadership were explored as were the potential, unexpected financial risks of making a sudden move to increase access to our publications archive
- More generally, the spirit and value of open access (which is aligned with AGU’s mission), the future of traditional academic publishing models, and the role of publications as a revenue stream for AGU were also debated
Digital Transformation Initiative
- AGU Chief Digital Officer Jay Brodsky shed light on the ongoing Digital Transformation Initiative and the decision to develop a web platform tailored to the needs of the Earth and space science community which will provide access to all of AGU’s content (profiles, abstracts, channels) in one place
Austin Endowment for Student Travel
- Leadership also received an update about the Austin Endowment for Student Travel for students attending AGU Fall Meetings. The goal is within reach but will require sustained action by individual Board members to reach the 1-million-dollar threshold
- You can still donate to help student more students attend Fall Meeting!
AGU Building Update
- Board members learned that AGU’s beautifully renovated, net zero headquarters is leading by example and it is clearly creating opportunities for others to learn and do the same. The building is already earning accolades including the Clean Energy DC Award and was the location chosen by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to sign Clean Energy DC Act which sets an ambitious mandating that the District move to 100% renewable electricity by the year 2032. AGU leaders are also being invited to speak at sustainable building conferences and the headquarters is being used as a teaching tool with visitors coming far and wide to learn about the green technologies integrated into the redesign.
- The Board also had a very honest and thoughtful conversation about its own diversity and the many aspects of diversity in a leadership context
- Strategies for promoting a more diverse board were also discussed as were methodologies to make finances more transparent to the membership
Science Communication and Policy
- As AGU is branching its to science communication and policy efforts to target States and Districts through the Voices for Science campaign, how AGU can make policy efforts more international was a key area of discussion as science for society – that benefits all nations – is central to our mission
- It was a pleasure to be a new board member at such a thoughtful meeting.
- Every item on the agenda seemed key to the future direction of the organization and Earth and space science.
- The Board’s discussions helped to paint a clearer picture of and path to the future we envision.
- If we rebuilt AGU today from the ground up, how would we build a truly global AGU?