Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boston AAS: Panel Discussion on Transforming Cultural Norms...

Yesterday we held a panel discussion during the Boston AAS meeting entitled "Transforming Cultural Norms: Mentoring and Networking Groups for Women and Minorities". In order to more widely disseminate the ideas and resources shared during this discussion, I'm taking advantage of our blog conversations.

Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to the conversation. We were very pleased to see the mix of men and women in the audience, although there's definitely work to be done in engaging more senior men in these discussions.

In this first post, I'm providing our extended community the resources page distributed at the start of the disucssion. Please send me your comments for any additional resources that you'd like to see included. The final list will be published for posterity at the CSWA 'Resources' page.

My next post will provide the videotape we made of the discussion. As a teaser, I'll note that our discussion yesterday highlighted examples of concrete steps to take to enable sustainability, obstacles to be aware of, how to develop allies through making it clear the ways your program champions your institution's priorities, acknowledging the realities of needing to work within existing structures, and the limitations of our recent decadal survey with respect to accomplishing the goals of the 'State of the Profession' white papers.

Till that's posted, another big Thank You! to our panelists for their ongoing efforts to improve the culture and climate at their institutions and for their thoughtfulness in considering the questions we had composed prior to the session to help guide the discussion.

Our panelists were:
  • Marcel Agueros -- astronomy faculty and Director of Columbia University's Bridge to PhD program in the Natural Sciences
  • Ed Bertschinger -- Chair of the MIT Physics department and deeply involved in a number of mentoring, networking, and cultural change initiatives, member of the CSWA
  • Kim Coble -- physics/astronomy faculty at Chicago State University, a minority serving institution in Chicago, deeply involved in mentoring and pipeline issues
  • Meredith Danowski -- astronomy PhD student and co-founder of Boston University's women in STEM mentoring and networking program
  • James Ulvestad -- NSF-AST director, head of astro2010 demographics study group, and former member of the CSWA
Keep in touch and tuned in to future blog posts containing additional resources and information with regards to this ongoing discussion.


Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA)
  • To subscribe to the weekly CSWA newsletter -
  • Website -
  • Blog -
  • STATUS semiannual publication -
  • Pasadena Recommendations -
  • Articles, links, and other resources on the “two-body problem”, “work-life” balance, mentoring, sexual harassment, unconscious bias, and re-entering the work force after a career break -
  • Mentoring advice -
Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA)
  • Website -
  • SPECTRUM biannual publication -
  • Links to presentations from previous AAS sessions on mentoring -
  • Research on the benefits of diversity in higher education -
  • Minority faculty recruitment, promotion, and tenure -
  • Affirmative Action -
NSF ADVANCE grant program to recruit and retain women in STEM careers
  • Website -
  • Portal to search for NSF ADVANCE websites relevant to your topic of interest -
  • NSF postdoctoral mentoring plan requirement -
  • National Postdoctoral Association, mentoring plan suggestions -
  • MIT Mentors & Postdocs Toolkit - & in particular,
  • Statistics on trends in the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in STEM -
  • ‘Decade of Lessons Learned’ article on models of success and barriers to success in STEM programs at 4 Minority Institutions
  • Univ. of Washington’s ‘Faculty Retention Toolkit’ -- guide to chairs and deans to facilitate retention and advancement of women/minority faculty -
  • Association for Women in Science mentoring resources -
  • MentorNet -
-L. Trouille

1 comment :

Ed Bertschinger said...

Thank You, Laura, for organizing a wonderful and well-attended session. Your preparation worked well and the audience was really engaged -- I loved the questions.