Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Does Astronomy Education Research have a glass ceiling?

Saeed Salimpour
By Saeed Salimpour1,a and Michael Fitzgerald2

1Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
2Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
aCorrespondence: astrophysics_at_saeedsalimpour.com

The challenges associated with gender equity and equality have been the topic of much research over many decades. In the context of science, the issue of gender is even more pronounced, this is marked by efforts to engage more women in science, or more specifically STEM. However, the research has mostly centred around scientists and science research. This brief article highlights findings from a study which explored the issue of gender in the context of Astronomy Education Research (AER) – a rapidly growing field of research drawing in, not just astronomers, but also researchers from different fields, e.g., education, psychology, evaluation.

Michael Fitzgerald
The study used the iSTAR database (International STudies of Astronomy education Research) (istardb.org, link to summary paper). Over the years, iSTAR has grown to contain, or link to where appropriate, more than 1800 publications. These have drawn from major literature searches throughout the mainstream astronomy, astronomy education and science education journals, major conference proceedings and thesis collections. We presented the current status of iSTAR, at the recent RTSRE & iNATS conference in Hilo, Hawai’i, a recording of the talk is available here, and to see a fully referenced expanded version of this article, a pre-print of the article is available here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for November 9, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
November 9, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

This week's issues:

1. Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate Student Body
2. Unforgotten sisters: The woman who bested Kepler 
3. This women-led space program is crowdfunding Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite launch
4. STEM: What’s holding females back?  
5. 10 Career Tips From The First Woman To Lead The Smithsonian Air And Space Museum
6. Women in tech call on global summit for greater roles as #MeToo hits
7. To address sexual harassment in science, the past can inform the way forward   
8. Job Opportunities   
9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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1. Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate Student Body 
From: Nicolle Zellner via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The editors of the AASWomen Newsletter are receiving many ads for tenure-track faculty positions and fellowship opportunities. Thank you for sending them!

As we enter the "hiring season", please think about using rubrics in decisions related to hiring and, in the case of graduate school, admission. Please also consider making them transparent by publishing them so that applicants are aware of the evaluation criteria. All of us are born with biases and they play out in our lives every day, especially when considering who to add to our department, field, and/or community. Rubrics allow us to compartmentalize those factors that are most important to us and allow a standardization of the factors to be considered, among all members of the decision committee.

Read more and find a list of resources at


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2. Unforgotten sisters: The woman who bested Kepler
From: John Wenzel [jwenzel_at_albion.edu]

Seventeenth century astronomer Maria Cunitz corrected several errors made by Kepler when he calculated planetary positions - and her final report was written in both Latin and German. Today Cunitz is credited with "contributing to the development of modern scientific German language."

Read more at 


[Over 400 women scientists are described in Sethanne Howard's book "The Hidden Giant". The web site for children is http://4kyws.ua.edu".  --eds.]

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3. This women-led space program is crowdfunding Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite launch 
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

“In the next two years, Kyrgyzstan could have its first space program, completely powered by a team of a dozen women aged from 17 to 25 years old. … The young women behind Kyrgyz Space Program are challenging gender norms by learning engineering and coding to build the country’s first cube satellite …”

Read more at


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4. STEM: What’s holding females back?
From: Alessandra Aloisi [aloisi_at_stsci.edu]

Sue Thomson, Deputy CEO (Research) at the Australian Council for Educational Research comments that “We rightly celebrate great achievements for women in science, such as the Nobel Prizes awarded in Physics to Donna Strickland and in Chemistry to Frances Arnold this year, but why are these achievements such a rarity? Perhaps it’s because women are still vastly underrepresented in many of the sciences at tertiary level.”

Read more at


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5. 10 Career Tips From The First Woman To Lead The Smithsonian Air And Space Museum
From: JoEllen McBride [joellen.mcbride_at_gmail.com]

By Joan Michaelson

When Ellen Stofan made a deliberate decision to step back from her management-level career in aerospace to spend more time with her kids, she knew she may have derailed her career forever.  She was okay with that.

Today, Dr. Stofan leads the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM), one of the most prestigious jobs in the world, as well as in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the first woman in history to hold that position (her official title is the John and Adrienne Mars Director).

Prior to assuming this role, Stofan served as Chief Scientist at NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  She was offered that job after staying home with her young kids and working only part-time for 12 years (sometimes working as little as 10 hours per week).

Read more and learn Dr. Stofan’s career insights and lessons at


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6. Women in tech call on global summit for greater roles as #MeToo hits 
From: Alessandra Aloisi [aloisi_at_stsci.edu]

One of technology’s largest global conferences, the Web Summit, saw women leaders calling “for more to be done to drive equality the male-dominated industry… A poll of 1,000 women in tech by the Web Summit, given exclusively to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showed nearly half, or 47 percent, said the gender ratio in leadership had not improved in the past year. Only 17 percent said it was better.”

Read more at


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7. To address sexual harassment in science, the past can inform the way forward
From: JoEllen McBride [joellen.mcbride_at_gmail.com]

By Beryl Lieff Benderly

In late September, two major scientific bodies announced new policies aimed at curbing sexual harassment in academic research. The National Science Foundation (NSF) now requires institutions holding grants to report promptly whenever an agency-funded researcher accused of harassment undergoes administrative action or is judged guilty. The agency promises to take corrective action, up to and including removing the offender from a project or even ending the funding. AAAS (the publisher of Science Careers), meanwhile, has established a procedure for rescinding the status of fellows in cases of proven harassment or other serious ethical lapses.

Read more at


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8. Job Opportunities

- PhD studentship, Observational Astronomy (galaxies: chemical enrichment), University of Bath, UK

- PhD studentship, Theoretical Astrophysics (neutron stars), University of Bath, UK

- Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship in Instrumentation and Technology Development, University of Arizona

- Bok Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Arizona

- KASI/Arizona Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Arizona

- Instructor, Physics, Madison Area Technical College

- Assistant Professor, Planetary/Exoplanets, New Mexico State University

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here: https://cswa.aas.org/#howtoincrease 

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9. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org 

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address. 

When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a one-line description and a link to the full job posting. 

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email: 

Send email to aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have subscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list) 

To unsubscribe by email: 

Send email to aaswlist+unsubscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have UNsubscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

To join or leave AASWomen via web, or change your membership settings: 


You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using https://accounts.google.com/newaccount?hl=en  

Google Groups Subscribe Help: 


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11. Access to Past Issues

  
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate Student Body

The editors of the AASWomen Newsletter are receiving many ads for tenure-track faculty positions and fellowship opportunities. Thank you for sending them! 

As we enter the "hiring season", please think about using rubrics in decisions related to hiring and, in the case of graduate school, admission*. Please also consider making them transparent by publishing them so that applicants are aware of the evaluation criteria. All of us are born with biases and they play out in our lives every day, especially when considering who to add to our department, field, and/or community. Rubrics allow us to compartmentalize those factors that are most important to us and allow a standardization of the factors to be considered, among all members of the decision committee.

I've listed some resources here that may be useful to you and/or your department. Feel free to share widely!


Faculty Search Toolkit (Michigan State University)


Faculty Hiring Evaluation Rubrics (University of Michigan, via the University of Washington)
   
Checklist for Hiring (Michigan Tech)

Multiple resources, incl. a variety of rubrics and a list of best practices (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

More resources (University of Michigan)

While the above resources are focused on practices to hire a diverse faculty, the guidelines can certainly be applied to accepting graduate students and the rubrics can be revised accordingly. As far as I can tell, no one has developed any rubrics for graduate school admission, but the need is real! So, if you design one, it will be a great resource and the CSWA can help you disseminate it widely! 

A quick Google search on "rubric evaluating grad student applications" provided some promising links:

Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions (Council of Graduate Schools)


Finally, rubrics to evaluate PhD Qualifying Exams also exist. You can find one here (pdf) and here (doc).

Do you know of other resources? Let us know! and check out the CSWA's page for additional information.



* I thank my salon group at the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium for the stimulating discussions that lead to this post.