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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement
CIERA is committed to creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community for everyone. Every person connected to CIERA, including its visitors, upholds our shared values by seeking diverse perspectives and deliberately working to increase access and equity of people from marginalized groups. We recognize that true excellence only comes from the meaningful integration of all perspectives in our community and culture.
CIERA has established a Social Justice Coordinating Committee (SJCC) to oversee CIERA’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts, most of which are managed by dedicated task forces. The SJCC includes representation from faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students. Approximately 40% of CIERA faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students are directly involved in our SJ activities as SJCC or task force members, and many more participate regularly in other ways. Current task forces include: CIERA Speaker Equity Assessment, K-12 Outreach, Sustainable Activism, Bridge Program/Mentoring, Training, Northwestern Prison Education Program, Weekly Social Justice Meeting Planning, and Postdoctoral Recruitment Data Collection.
Social Justice Coordinating Committee (SJCC)
Chairs: Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Giles Novak
Members: Aprajita Hajela, Sasha Tchekhovskoy, Emily Leiner, Erin Cox, Kari Frank, Peter Blanchard, Wynn Jacobson-Galán
Ex Officio: Vicky Kalogera (CIERA Director), Ryan Chornock (Physics & Astronomy Department’s Committee for Equity and Inclusion chair)
Visitor Program Improvement
- To help create a diverse and representative Visitors Program at CIERA, we developed a new Speaker Suggestion Form and Resource Page. These tools help with our deliberate effort to bring BIPOC, Women, and LGBTQ+ scientists to campus, as well as visitors who can speak on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in STEM. (updated March 26, 2021)
- To analyze the demographics of our Visitors Program and identify any necessary improvements, we have collected data from CIERA visiting researchers and speakers. An anonymous survey of all who visited from fall 2017 through summer 2020 resulted in 178 responses (more than 50% of all visitors from that period). (updated March 26, 2021)
- We share activism opportunities, resources, and social justice related news on an active internal Slack channel. (updated April 5, 2021)
CIERA Community Climate Improvement
- To work towards a shared reality on a wide array of anti-racism and social justice issues, we organize a weekly internal meeting with reading material, active discussions, group trainings, and more. (updated November 23, 2020)
- To provide a mechanism for feedback on issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at CIERA, the SJCC receives submissions via an anonymous form. The form includes resources for incident reporting tools and confidential support services. (updated March 26, 2021)
- To respond to the internal call for professional training and provide a foundational set of tools to the CIERA community, we are hosting a series of 5 professional workshops on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to be held from January – May 2021, led by Movement Consulting. (updated March 26, 2021)
- To enable more underrepresented graduate students to succeed in STEM, we are pursuing collaborations with nationally recognized bridge programs and local Chicago-area universities. (updated March 26, 2021)
- We are investigating how mentoring and support structures in CIERA can be improved, so we can ensure that all students can get the guidance they need and deserve. (updated March 26, 2021)
- A subcommittee of the SJCC stays informed on the latest issues affecting our international students, postdocs, and faculty and shares key updates. (updated March 26, 2021)
- The SJCC provides quarterly updates to the CIERA community on the progress of SJ efforts and related topics. (updated March 26, 2021)
Education & Outreach Programs
- Our goal is to ensure that CIERA’s K-12 outreach initiatives reach younger students in most need of STEM enrichment. We developed guiding principles that CIERA’s K-12 education and outreach programs should abide by. We are currently developing new programming aimed at the voiced needs of K-12 students and teachers as well as a development framework to ensure that K-12 outreach initiatives reflect our guiding principles in the future. (updated April 12, 2021)
- CIERA researchers have increased our involvement with the Northwestern Prison Education Program, by volunteering as tutors and course instructors for people who are incarcerated. (updated March 26, 2021)
- Ongoing educational programs, including Reach for the Stars, REACH, REU, IDEAS and more, continue deliberate efforts to engage and support students from marginalized groups in all stages of STEM education. (updated March 26, 2021)