In the Fall of 2018, a new ad-hoc committee on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) was formed under the leadership of then UFFC-S president Prof. Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb. The committee has been working since under the continued support of current president Dr. Paul Reynolds. The objective of the D&I Committee is to encourage and guide UFFC-S in promoting diversity and inclusion to achieve equity at the society level and in symposia. A broad definition of diversity has been taken, as the barriers to equity at the professional level can include, but are not limited to: geography, race, ethnicity, class, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age and ability. The D&I committee has taken several early steps to increase diversity (and the awareness of diversity) in our society, as well as build the metrics for evaluation of future efforts.
- A motion presented by the D&I committee has been accepted by the AdCom to introduce a D&I chair for every society-led symposium to ensure that diversity is achieved at every level of the symposium from the organizing committee to plenary/invited speakers. The D&I symposia chairs report both the statistics and the activities that were conducted during the conference.
- These reports coupled with a newly implemented survey also developed by the D&I committee will allow aggregated data collection and will provide both a current snapshot as well as the trends as new strategies are implemented to increase diversity. These surveys will be available starting from registration until the end of the conference. In addition, the survey includes questions regarding people’s experiences in the society with regards to discrimination and harassment in order to help amplify their voices.
Currently the D&I committee is working to implement an operation manual as a step to become a standing committee, as well as developing a 5-year plan to be evaluated later this year. While the early work of the committee focused on setting up data collection and improvements in the symposia, the committee now has turned its sights to inclusivity and outreach efforts in UFFC. Some of the ideas that will be materializing in the coming years include free online workshops and tutorials targeted towards underrepresented regions (e.g. South America and Africa) as well as towards underrepresented communities (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S.). In future newsletters keep an eye on the highlights from the D&I committee as well as career highlights of our many diverse members at UFFC. You can contact the Chair of D&I committee at (Click to show email) if you are interested in contributing, need additional information, or have questions.