Tuesday, October 11, 2016

DPS Professional Culture & Climate Subcommittee/Announcement of DPS Plenary

The Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) created the Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee (PCCS) this past year with the goal of considering and recommending actions that the DPS can take to remove or reduce factors in our professional culture that lead to anything other than scientific merit in consideration of any members's ability to achieve success as a planetary scientist.

Top, L-R: Christina Richey, Nancy Chanover, Rebecca Oppenheimer, & Karen Meech
Bootom, L-R: Guy Consolmango, Sarah Horst, Matthew Tiscareno, & Sona Hosseini

The current members of the PCCS are:
Christina Richey (co-CHAIR, ASRC Federal and NASA HQ)
Nancy Chanover (co-CHAIR, New Mexico State University)
Rebecca Oppenheimer (American Museum Natural History)
Karen Meech (University of Hawaii IFA)
Guy Consolmagno (Vatican Observatory)
Sarah Horst (Johns Hopkins University)
Matthew Tiscareno (SETI Institute)
Sona Hosseini (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The Subcommittee has been highly active in the few months since its inception. Among various ideas in the pursuit of these goals, the PCCS works with AAS leadership to include questions on the exit survey conducted at AAS conferences that deal with critical issues surrounding harassment and exclusivity. PCCS tested new survey questions at the 2016 Division on Dynamical Astronomy Conference. The 2016 DPS/EPSC meeting survey will include some or all of these questions in an effort to collect data concerning the professional environment of the DPS meetings. 

In addition, the PCCS discussed these new efforts with AAS CEO Kevin Marvel to update the the anti-harassment endeavor that the AAS initiated several years ago. 

The PCCS considers and researches issues related to implicit bias, intersectionality, career trajectories, explicit bias and barriers to members’ full participation in the scientific enterprise that the AAS and DPS strive to promote, as their primary mission. 

Another action accomplished by the PCCS is the establishment of a plenary talk at the DPS meeting, which will highlight culture or climate issues that impact the field of planetary science. 

Our first plenary talk will be given by Dr. Patricia Knezek on “Addressing Unconscious Bias.” The talk will take place on Wednesday, October 19th, at 2:00 PM in Ballroom D and the abstract is below. Please attend if you will be at this year’s Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Sciences Conference. The talk is open to all.

Additionally, the PCCS is currently recruiting new members. For consideration and to obtain further details contact Christina Richey or Nancy Chanover, both of whom will be attending the DPS meeting all week, and/or can be emailed. The PCSS website will be updated more within the coming months.

Division of Planetary Sciences Announcement of Plenary:

Addressing Unconscious Bias

Patricia Knezek

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016: 2:00-2:20 PM, Ballroom D

Abstract: Unconscious bias reflects expectations or stereotypes that influence our judgments of others (regardless of our own group). Everyone has unconscious biases. The end result of unconscious bias can be an accumulation of advantage or disadvantage that impacts the long-term career success of individuals, depending on which biases they are subject to. In order to foster a professional culture and climate, being aware of these unconscious biases and mitigating against them is a first step. This is particularly important when judgments are needed, such as in cases for recruitment, choice of speakers for conferences, and even reviewing papers submitted for publication. This presentation will cover how unconscious bias manifests itself, what evidence exists to demonstrate it exists, and ways it can be addressed.

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