Jackson School Community Compiles Official Inventory of DEI Initiatives

By Megan Flansburg (PhD 2022), Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati (PhD 2021), Alison Tune (PhD 2021), Kristina Butler (PhD 2021), Kiara Gomez (PhD 2021), and Cat Ross (PhD 2021)

The Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) is regarded as one of the top geoscience programs in the United States. As a leader in advancing the methods and communication of geoscience, the JSG also strives (and should) to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the larger geoscience community. As these Science Y’all posts point out (#ShutdownSTEM JSG Edition from July 2020 and Who gets geology PhDs? from November 2017), the geoscience community still has significant work to do to intentionally and actively create a more accessible and welcoming environment for everyone. 

One way that JSG can do this is to be more transparent about what programs do exist, who is organizing them, and how students, staff, and faculty can become active DEI promoters at JSG. We contacted the directors and program coordinators of various developing and on-going DEI efforts at the JSG to provide the broader JSG community with information on these programs’ goals, how they work, and who to contact if you have questions or are interested in becoming involved. 

 

Our work was integral to forming the JSG’s official inventory of DEI efforts and initiatives, a collaborative effort led by the JSG Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Dean’s Office to create a snapshot of current and proposed DEI work at JSG. 

Dr. Adam Papendieck, JSG’s Writer-in-Residence, calls the DEI Inventory “an excellent example of a ‘boundary object’ [Star and Griesemer, 1989], that is, an information tool and collaborative project that makes sense to a wide variety of people and can be used for a wide variety of purposes, and that therefore can help get people talking and working together across boundaries.” Boundary objects help collect, translate and disseminate knowledge across the boundaries inherent within a large organization like JSG, for instance between students and faculty, faculty and administration, and between administration and students. The JSG DEI Inventory  should be an important starting point, making existing and new DEI efforts more transparent and connected, and helping each member of the JSG community get involved in the  creation of a community that is inclusive, diverse, and equitable.  

So, let’s all get to work!

 

Science Y’all Solicitation: Have you been involved in one of the programs listed on the JSG DEI Inventory? We’d love to hear from you for our next post! We would like to feature reflections on a range of experiences both attending and organizing these programs. For example, how has the program helped you achieve your personal or professional goals (e.g., outreach, finding, or building community, exposing you to/discovering new scientific fields, etc.), or how do you see JSG or a specific program advancing DEI moving forward. Please fill out this Google Form if you are interested in contributing. An example of previous reflections can be read in this Science Y’all post on #ShutDownSTEM.

 

Those interested in becoming involved in current DEI initiatives at JSG, please contact bigr@jsg.utexas.edu.

We wish to thank Dr. Adam Papendieck, Dr. Samuel Moore, Dr. Joel Johnson, Dr. Ginny Catania, Dr. Tim Goudge, Dr. Krista Soderlund, and Dr. Dana Thomas for answering our inquiries, as well as Dean Claudia Mora and all of the contributors to the JSG DEI inventory for advancing these efforts.

More information on these programs and efforts may also be found on the developing JSG Diversity and Inclusion webpage*, organized by the JSG Diversity and Inclusion Committee directed by Dr. Samuel Moore.

*JSG web page under construction [updated July 27, 2020].

 

References

Star Susan, L., & Griesemer James, R. (1989). Institutional Ecology,“Translations” and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–1939. Social Studies of Science, 19(3), 387-420.