To address the last goal of our mission statement (networking across institutions), we have developed a workshop intended to collaborate with other like-minded academics. If you have participated in this workshop, please visit https://goo.gl/forms/7i745jjHlOfuYVMC2 and offer up your thoughts!
We conducted this workshop at the annual conference of the Ecological Society of America (Portland, Oregon) in August, 2017.
Burgeoning news coverage of sexual harassment and assault in academia has left many of us questioning our own workplace cultures. For this workshop, our goals are to 1) define common cultural problems in academia, 2) discuss action items that can feasibly be deployed in our departments to ameliorate these problems, and 3) develop a network of people dedicated to implementing some of these action items in their own departments.
Common cultural problems in academia include:
- Lack of communication within labs.
- Lack of communication across labs (the “silo effect”).
- Harmful power dynamics that negatively affect the well-being or career prospects of trainees.
- Uncertainty in dealing with actions that are damaging but not unlawful.
- Threat of retaliation after reporting incidents.
Example action items we will introduce to participants include:
- Developing communication protocols to reduce lab conflict.
- Creating mentorship training and establishing mentorship reviews for faculty.
- Evaluating trainees’ experiences in your department (e.g., conducting “climate” surveys).
- Increasing social connections across labs and academic statuses.
- Establishing a set of agreed-upon “standards of conduct” for your department to cite in response to inappropriate behavior.
Our ultimate goal is to connect people interested in raising the standard of behavior in our workplaces so that all are treated with dignity and respect. We envision an online presence to communicate and collaborate with others to improve action items and share the results of such activities. We hope these actions will make academia more inclusive, productive, and powerful for all involved in the advancement of science.