Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Cross-Post: Task Force Recommendations Outline Changes Needed to Increase African American Physics and Astronomy Students

Gathering of African American women physicists; Credit: Jami Valentine Miller

There have been fewer than 100 PhDs in physics granted to African-American women as tracked by the AAWIP. Such depressing statistics require that physics and astronomy communities work to understand and change systemic barriers to African Americans succeeding in these fields. The National Task Force to Elevate African American representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP) is working towards this goal and below we cross-post their January 5th press release made at the American Astronomical Society meeting.

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, January 5, 2020 -- Due to long-term and systemic issues leading to the consistent exclusion of African Americans in physics and astronomy, a task force is recommending sweeping changes and calling for awareness into the number and experiences of African American students studying the fields.

The National Task Force to Elevate African American representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy, known as TEAM-UP, was chartered and funded by the American Institute of Physics to examine the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy in the U.S.

Report Summary Download https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/aipcorp/files/teamup-preview.pdf
Full Summary Download https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/aipcorp/files/teamup-full-report.pdf

In its report, “The Time Is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy,” the task force discusses the five factors it discovered as responsible for the success or failure of African American students in physics and astronomy: belonging, physics identity, academic support, personal support, and leadership and structures. The report was released on Jan. 5 at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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