AERA Joins Research Leaders in Enhancing Diversity in Science
AERA Joins Research Leaders in Enhancing Diversity in Science
AERA Joins Research Leaders in Enhancing Diversity in Science
June 2012

On May 24, more than 100 persons from research and scientific associations, federal agencies, private foundations, and colleges and universities convened for a workshop to examine ways to improve diversity in science fields. “Enhancing Diversity in Science: Working Together to Develop Common Data, Measures and Standards” was sponsored by the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science (CEDS), a coalition of eight professional associations and scientific societies that work together to elevate the importance of diversity in the scientific workforce. Following up on a previous conference held in July 2008, the workshop specifically aimed to address the need to establish databases, information systems, and a research basis for evaluating diversity enhancing programs.

AERA is a member of the coalition, and George Wimberly, AERA director of social justice and professional development, served on the workshop’s planning committee.

The meeting included researchers, leaders from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and representatives of universities, associations, and foundations working to increase diversity in the sciences. AERA executive director Felice J. Levine began the workshop with a presentation that framed the issue for the participants. She raised questions aimed at catalyzing the discussion and invited the participants to work together in a “concerted, anchored, and proactive manner,” and stressed the need for partnerships in this endeavor between universities, associations, and federal agencies. “The point of the conference is not just to stimulate and inform but to provide a necessary step in the nation’s progress. The knowledge produced is to be used to support action leading to a diverse scientific work force.”

Breakout sessions throughout the day addressed the following topics: what to measure related to surveys and indicators, what to measure related to programs and interventions that aim to promote diversity in the STEM workforce, whom to measure, how to measure, and a process for sharing best practices. The participants discussed and developed specific recommendations related to measurement of participation and achievement in the sciences across diverse groups, evaluation of approaches to supporting diversity in the sciences, and efforts to develop common measurement approaches.

The event organizers plan to compile and publish the recommendations. In coming months, the report will be disseminated among the various stakeholders and other interested parties.

CEDS aims to foster interdisciplinary ties through its partnerships and through events and communications that provide a forum for scholars, practitioners, administrators, and funders to share ideas and strategies for moving diversity forward within scientific disciplines. CEDS is led by Angela Sharpe, deputy director of the Consortium of Social Science Associations.

CEDS includes:

  • AAAS Center for Careers in Science and Technology
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Consortium of Social Science Associations
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Society for Research in Child Development