Professor Boston University Boston, MA, United States
Session Description: To achieve diversity in the ecological sciences, we must move beyond recruitment to create a culture that fosters inclusive, equitable and safe workplaces. Institutions must emphasize the quality of the learning and work experience and address persistent problems such as racism, sexism, harassment, bullying and intimidation. These behaviors create hostile environments, negatively impact individual’s wellbeing, and undermine institutions’ efforts to diversify their workforce.
In this session, representatives of two research teams that have studied workplace culture in ecology will share findings from their research and discuss recommendations to foster culture change. Representatives from ESA will also share steps the Society has taken towards creating a more inclusive atmosphere within the society’s activities and in the ecological field more broadly. This will be an interactive session, with ample time for discussion and audience engagement.
Richard Primack and Pamela Templer (both from Boston University) will present the results of a survey sent to the Ecological Society of America membership and ECOLOG-L listserv subscribers which highlight positive and negative workplace experiences in ecology; bottom line: identity matters. While most respondents reported positive workplace experiences, historically excluded groups experienced far more negative workplace experiences (e.g., sexual harassment, interpersonal mistreatment, and insulting behaviors). Historically excluded groups were also more likely to report opting out of professional opportunities and considering leaving their institution and a career change. The report concludes by providing recommendations for addressing these issues through culture and policy changes.
Kendra Cheruvelil, from Michigan State University, will share results from the NSF-funded CLIMBS UP project, which examines how an inclusive climate affects academic STEM career outcomes, particularly for early-career individuals from underrepresented groups. CLIMBS UP surveyed over 10,000 early career scholars in 124 departments across the United States between April and May 2021. Over 3,500 responses from PhD students, postdoctoral scholars, and assistant professors in the fields of biology, economics, physics, and psychology measured perceptions of climate within the research group, department, and academic field.
Adrienne Sponberg, Society Programs Director at ESA, will share steps ESA has taken towards creating a culture of change in ecology, including changes to the Annual Meeting and new partnerships funded through NSF’s new Leading Culture Change through Professional Societies (LEAPS) program.