Building an Inclusive AAS – The Critical Role of Diversity and Inclusion Training for AAS Council and Astronomy Leadership [IMA]

Diversity, equity and inclusion are the science leadership issues of our time. As our nation and the field of astronomy grow more diverse, we find ourselves in a position of enormous potential and opportunity: a multitude of studies show how groups of diverse individuals with differing viewpoints outperform homogenous groups to find solutions that are more innovative, creative, and responsive to complex problems, and promote higher-order thinking amongst the group. Research specifically into publications also shows that diverse author groups publish in higher quality journals and receive higher citation rates. As we welcome more diverse individuals into astronomy, we therefore find ourselves in a position of potential never before seen in the history of science, with the best minds and most diverse perspectives our field has ever seen. Despite this enormous growing potential, and the proven power of diversity, the demographics of our field are not keeping pace with the changing demographics of the nation, and astronomers of colour, women, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, and those with more than one of these identities still face “chilly” or “hostile” work environments in the sciences. If we are to fully support all astronomers and students in reaching their full scientific potential, we must recognize that most of us tend to overestimate our ability to support our minoritized students and colleagues, that our formal education system fails to prepare us for working in a multicultural environment, and that most of us need some kind of training to help us know what we don’t know and fill those gaps in our education. To that end, diversity and inclusion training for AAS council and leadership, heads of astronomy departments, and faculty search committees should be a basic requirement throughout our field.

Read this paper on arXiv…

C. Brinkworth, A. Skaer, C. Prescod-Weinstein, et. al.
Tue, 11 Oct 16

Comments: 7 pages