Session: Vital Connections in Ecology: Mentoring, Education, and Training
Transforming workplace climate through behavioral and institutional change, results from a workplace climate survey by the ADVANCEGeo Partnership
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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Erika Marin-Spiotta, Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, Emily Diaz-Vallejo, Geography, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, Tara Miller and Richard Primack, Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA, Vicki Magley, University of Connecticut, Pamela Templer, Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA, Blair Schneider, Kansas Geological Survey, Allison Mattheis, California State University, Los Angeles, Rebecca T. Barnes, Environmental Program, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA, Meredith G. Hastings, Environmental Change Initiative, Brown University, Providence, RI, Billy Williams, American Geophysical Union
Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI, USA
Background/Question/Methods Persistently underserved groups in STEMM report hostile work environments due to bias, harassment and discrimination. The NSF-funded ADVANCEGeo Partnership leverages multi-organizational collaborations to influence academic culture by catalyzing broader community engagement to tackle systemic exclusionary behaviors. The program’s main organizational change intervention is a community-based model for bystander intervention education, informed by a feminist ethics of care. A focus on intersectionality addresses persistent trends in underrepresentation and exclusion of Black, Indigenous and other people of color in scientific disciplines that have experienced positive, if sometimes small, increases in the representation of white women. An intersectionality framework also responds to unique challenges of disciplines with strong field components, like the ecological and earth sciences, by recognizing that safety in field training and research needs to address sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia. The ADVANCEGeo program promotes ethical codes that identify harassment, bullying and discrimination as research misconduct in collaboration with professional associations, which can provide leverage to transform culture in a discipline. Results/Conclusions Here we discuss findings from a workplace climate survey of the ecological community. The survey asked about attitudes and experiences of support, inclusion, exclusion, psychological safety, incivility, and sexual harassment over the last 12 months. Participants reported high rates of colleagues devaluing their work and bullying. More than 70% of women and LGBTQ individuals report having their work devalued and 35% report experiencing bullying. These patterns hold true across early, mid, and late career stages. People who have experienced a hostile work experience report negative impacts on their career. Over 50% of women and non-binary persons, as well as LGBTQ individuals reported considering leaving their current institution or profession, and more than 50% also reported a loss of confidence and lower productivity. The significant damage to individuals, institutions, and the profession caused by hostile workplace climates needs to be addressed by universities and scientific societies.