BE-CDEI Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: 06 MAY 2019 / 3:30–5:00 PM / BASKIN ENGINEERING 330

The following Council members were in attendance: 

Peter Alvaro
Russell Corbett-Detig
Keith Corzine
Angus Forbes
Marcella Gomez
Zia Isola
Abigail Kaun (convener)
Narges Norouzi
Carmen Robinson (remote)
Tracie Tucker (remote)
Alex Wolf (special guest) 

The following Council members were excused:
Juhee Lee 

The following items were discussed with Dean Wolf:

Dean Wolf shared his vision for BE-CDEI to be a motivator for faculty and staff, to be a source of information. He encourages the council to think of their work as a movement, to help the Baskin Engineering community internalize values of equity and inclusion and, in turn promote those values. Your mission is to “put yourselves out of business” so at some point in the future there will be no need for BE-CDEI. 

Dean Wolf also explained that there are incidents that occur for which he would like to turn to BE-CDEI for advice on how to respond. Campus officials are able to provide guidance on official responses, but do not generally provide personal advice on how to deal with the situation. 

The dean was asked which projects and areas he would like to see the council tackle first and responded that he wants to ensure that faculty, students, and staff to know that DEI is a significant priority for the school. Therefore, a mission/values statement is important, and we must be mindful to make what we are concretely doing visible. The dean also indicated that the SVSH project is tangible and should be made a priority, and suggested that it should focus on “values in action” tools, rather than traditional training. 

Other discussion points included: 

  • How to respond to accusations of tolerating bias and of not caring. It was suggested that we hold a town hall meeting, however Dean Wolf pointed out that some recent town hall meetings have been relatively unproductive and have not yielded genuine dialogue. Smaller format discussions may be more effective.

  • Interest on the part of female graduate students to form a Graduate Women in Baskin Engineering group, and BE-CDEI members suggested that the school should provide resources to support this kind of initiative. It was pointed out that the school has supported undergraduate organizations, though that support has not been touted publicly. 

  • Mechanisms for attracting more diverse faculty candidates. It was pointed out that in the NCWiT Pacesetter survey, we learned that Baskin Engineering is in fact doing relatively well in terms of recruitment. The possibility of cluster hires was raised. The requirement that applicants provide a diversity statement was discussed, and Dean Wolf shared that he had requested that those statements be weighed more highly by search committees.

  • Baskin Engineering should encourage faculty to apply for diversity and inclusion training grants. (PBSci has been successful in this area.)

  • We should make it clear that efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued by the school and should be explicitly rewarded in the merit review process.

  • Dean Wolf expressed concern that the diversity speaker series was not being well attended, which was unfortunate given the very high quality of the content. It was suggested that this kind of programming be integrated into existing seminar series. Similarly, to ensure a high participation rate, using departmental retreats (as opposed to separate workshops) as an opportunity to discuss DEI issues was also recommended.

  • There was a discussion of how to invite guest speakers to talk about their experiences as a woman in tech, a URM in tech, etc. One member suggested that all speakers (not just those from underrepresented groups) be invited to talk about their pathway.

  • One member recommended to the dean that Baskin Engineering pursue Chancellor’s fellowship as an expansion of the Office of the President postdoctoral fellowship program. In addition, it was suggested that we pursue a postdoctoral fellowship seminar series that emphasizes diversity in the postdoctoral community and in faculty recruitment. The dean expressed enthusiasm for these ideas. 

  • The group discussed an incident in a class in which students who were not in the class interrupted in protest. This led to a conversation regarding students fears of not being able to complete their degrees due to the so-called “Muslim ban.” It was suggested that some programming for such students be funded (perhaps using departmental MIP funds, especially in ECE and CSE), and that having the programming be student-led was ideal.

  • It was suggested that some funding be set aside so that we can be responsive (not slow and bureaucratic) to situations that arise. We could form a “rapid response team,” which would be helpful to address student concerns (as shared earlier by Linda Scholz) that “we aren’t doing anything.”

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Meeting Minutes: 15 APRIL 2019 / 3:30–5:00 PM / BASKIN ENGINEERING 330

The following Council members were in attendance:

Peter Alvaro
Russell Corbett-Detig
Marcella Gomez
Zia Isola
Abigail Kaun (convener)
Narges Norouzi
Carmen Robinson
Tracie Tucker

Dr. Linda Scholz, Campus Diversity Officer for Staff and Students, joined the meeting at the invitation of BE-CDEI

The following Council members were excused:
Keith Corzine
Juhee Lee

3:30-4:10 Reminders and New Business

  1. Reminder: Diverse Voices Series [Silent]

  2. Reminder: Calendar of BE-CDEI meetings in Spring 2019 [Silent]

  3. Zia Isola led a discussion of the recently announced grant opportunity: NSF Improving UG STEM Education (HSI Institution).
    We discussed the need to establish a partner institution(s) , e.g., Hartnell, CSUMB, SJSU, etc.l, and mentioned that we will need some Baskin Engineering faculty to colleagues at those schools. It was pointed out that Tracy Larrabee has been establishing relationship with area community colleges, and we have a network through both the STEM Diversity programs and the MESA program. We have a model in place for a pipeline-building program (BD2K). It was also suggested that we could propose a capacity-building project which would essentially be a study to determine what is needed and what kind of programming is feasible, perhaps with a pilot program included. Zia will take the lead to see if we can establish a proposal for submission, noting that faculty involvement will also be critical. This discussion also yielded the idea that BE-CDEI should formally recommend that Baskin Engineering hire a grant-writer.

  4. Narges Norouzi and Carmen Robinson led a discussion of a potential school-wide event, possibly featuring Colleen Lewis, Harvey Mudd College. It was suggested that since departments hold their faculty meetings on different days, it might work best to schedule this programming for the period during which departmental retreats take place in the fall. Narges and Carmen will follow up on this project.

  5. Narges Norouzi and Carmen Robinson provided an update on the school’s engagement with NCWiT, including the 2-year Pacesetters program, in which we are an active participant. Recommendations of the Pacesetters program were (a) that we form a body to address issues of gender parity in the institution, which we have done through BE-CDEI, (b) developing workshops to address gender equity, which we discussed at this meeting and are pursuing (see (4) above), that we establish checkpoints to assess progress in promoting equity within the institution. Unfortunately, we will be unable to attend this year’s Pacesetters summit, however Narges and Carmen will follow up to determine what the outcomes are of that gathering and share this information with BE-CDEI.

  6. Members were encouraged to add items to the BE-CDEI projects list now, or wait until Abigail has updated into more of a project-management style document that will allow us to track interest on the part of individual members in BE-CDEI projects and establish a consensus on how to prioritize the projects.

  7. Prior to the arrival of the special guest, Abigail briefly mention that the BE-CDEI Action  Plan can use as its foundation both the project list described in (6) above and the Diversity Plan that was submitted earlier in the month to ASEE as part of the ASEE Deans Diversity Initiative.

4:10-5:00 Guest: Dr. Linda Scholz, Campus Diversity Officer for Staff and Students

  1. The impetus of inviting Dr. Linda Scholz to address BE-CDEI was the discussion in the previous meeting regarding how we should engage as a community committed to diverse perspectives, privacy rights, and the dignity of all of our members and guests, both in general and in response to public allegations of bias. The discussion touched on the following points:

  • We cannot wait until an incident happens to take action; we need to show departmental and school commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • Linda presented school-wide demographic data indicating that the student body is considerably more diverse than the faculty, which can present a problem for students in terms of being able to identify with – and feeling understood by – their professors.

  • Linda emphasized the importance of working to develop inclusive pedagogy, as well as the need to work with staff to develop their ability to interact effectively and successfully with students of different demographic groups.

  • The group discussed the importance of having its members feel empowered to be advocates for diversity and inclusion in their own departments and units.

  • Linda shared testimonials from students describing microaggressions they have experienced on campus, and emphasized the need to help faculty and students learn how to identify microaggressions and develop tools to address them. She described a graduate student seminar in which students were given scenarios, and then discussed “what if” options for responding to them.

  • Linda pointed out that while not all allegations of bias and microaggressions are from STEM, many are.

  • In response to the question “what can we do to affect positive change,” Linda recommended affirmative steps to demonstrate that we have measures in place to help faculty and staff avoid microaggressions, become aware of their own biases, and work toward reducing them.

  • It was suggested that the dean send a message to chairs recommending that they invite Linda to a faculty meeting to discuss climate and bias.

  • Linda strongly recommended against engaging in “listening tours” with the students, pointing out that they are fatigued through what they perceive as repeated instances of reporting their experiences with no evidence that the institution is taking action to address the problem. Rather, she recommended that we do a listening tour with faculty to hear about their experiences, challenges, frustrations, and successes.

  • It was also pointed out that explicit incentives should be offered to faculty to inspire them to develop more inclusive practices in their classrooms and labs.

  • Finally, Linda urged the group to communicate with the students who complete the climate survey regarding findings as well as planned steps to address the findings.

Action Items

  1. Abigail to circulate minutes of March meeting for review and approval

  2. Zia to send follow up email to the group regarding NSF Improving UG STEM Education: HSI Institution grant opportunity

  3. Carmen and Narges to follow up on school-wide program, possibly including Colleen Lewis

  4. Abigail to curate current BE-CDEI project list into a project management document for planning purposes 

 

Abigail to re-circulate BE-CDEI charge and bylaws for final comments before those documents are formally documented and posted publicly.

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Meeting Minutes: 11 MARCH 2019 / 4:00 PM / ENGINEERING 2 599

The following Council members were in attendance:

Peter Alvaro
Russell Corbett-Detig
Keith Corzine
Marcella Gomez
Zia Isola
Abigail Kaun (convener)
Juhee Lee
Narges Norouzi
Carmen Robinson
Tracie Tucker

The following Council members were excused:

Angus Forbes
Zia Isola

The following items were discussed:

The BE-CDEI charge was reviewed and discussed. It was suggested that the council propose an amendment to the charge to indicate that the BE-CDEI may make policy recommendations to the dean.

The BE-CDEI DRAFT bylaws were reviewed and discussed. Several issues were raised, including (a) the role of the dean as either an ex-officio member of the Council or participating at the invitation of the Council, (b) the handling of abstentions, for which there was general agreement that abstentions should be recorded, but no resolution as to whether they should be grouped with votes of Nay in determining the outcome of a vote,  (c) a suggestion to have an odd number of Council members to avoid ties, and d) whether/when to elect a chair and/or secretary. Comments have been added to the draft document reflecting these points.

It was suggested that we seek models from other institutions for groups similar to BE-CDEI that have proven successful.  It was also suggested that the Council make use of NCWiT resources (especially surveys).

The new Faculty Community Networking Program was briefly discussed and hard copies of the main web page for this program were distributed.

The Council also discussed the possibility of establishing sub-committees or working groups to work on areas such as student recruitment and experience, faculty recruitment and experience, staff experience, community engagement, and SV/SH [Sexual Harassment/Sexual Violence training and research program]. Ultimately it was decided that a more effective approach would be to identify projects to work on and have members of the Council assigned to  or volunteer for specific projects. A list of possible projects is under development. 

Abigail shared with the Council the possibility of a SV/SH program, explaining that there is a potential donor who has expressed a specific interest in including research into the phenomenon  whereby bias and stereotypes are perpetuated through technology. It was pointed out that funding for GSRs to work in this area under an advisor whose own work does relate to bias/stereotypes could be attractive, given that most/all of our existing faculty do not work in this particular area. 

Carmen shared information about the upcoming Diverse Voices series, including the fact that four speakers of color from industry have agreed to give moderated talks during spring quarter. The primary audience for this series is students, however the program will be open to all. An Out in STEM panel is also planned. More information will be shared with the Council as the details of this initiative are finalized. 

A BE-CDEI calendar for the remainder of the 2018/19 academic year will be developed in the coming weeks. Members are asked to share their availability through this Google form

A list of possible guests to invite to subsequent BE-CDEI meetings was mentioned. Members are invited to add to this list

Tracie mentioned that staff attend conferences such as SACNAS, Grace Hopper, etc. to recruit graduate students, and that it is beneficial to have faculty attend, as well. This gives prospective applicants exposure to Baskin Engineering faculty and research. She pointed out that the next SACNAS will be in Hawaii. 

The meeting concluded with a discussion of the recent accusation of bias against a Baskin Engineering faculty, and subsequent social media discussions.  The Council had a preliminary discussion of how the school might respond to situations such as this one, beyond the relatively non-detailed statement that was issued out of the dean’s office.  One possibility that was suggested was to organize a town hall to give students the opportunity to be heard, although it was pointed out that sensitivity will be important, given that students might not feel comfortable sharing their views in a public forum. It was suggested that Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, Campus Diversity Officer for Staff and Students, be invited to advise on possible modes of response in situations like this one. Carmen volunteered to reach out to Dr. Scholz.

 

Action Items:

  1. Review and recommend changes to BE-CDEI charge by March 18, 2019 (optional)

  2. Recommend changes to bylaws by March 18, 2019 (optional)

  3. Make suggestions for BE-CDEI projects prior to our next meeting (optional)

  4. Respond to scheduling poll by March 18, 2019 (required)

  5. Submit documents, web sites, and other resources for Team Drive (optional, ongoing).

  6. Review these minutes prior to  our next meeting (optional)