AERA and Other Societies Hold Hill Briefing on Diversity in Science
AERA and Other Societies Hold Hill Briefing on Diversity in Science
AERA and Other Societies Hold Hill Briefing on Diversity in Science

June 2013

AERA, along with other member organizations in the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science (CEDS), held a congressional briefing on June 6 to highlight findings from a recently released report on developing common metrics to evaluate and understand diversity initiatives across the science disciplines and fields. The report—Enhancing Diversity in Science: Working Together to Develop Common Data, Measures, and Standards—stemmed from a workshop held in May 2012.

The briefing, which was hosted in conjunction with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), featured accounts of the importance of diversity in science from representatives of universities, associations, and federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Studies of the U.S. scientific workforce consistently show that women and ethnic and racial minorities are underrepresented in the sciences. Johnson stressed that producing and maintaining a STEM workforce that reflects the demographic makeup of the U.S. population is a national priority.

Erich Jarvis, a faculty member at Duke University Medical Center, emphasized how cultural diversity among scientists enhances scientific thinking and the science experience. He stressed that affirmative action efforts can help offset the social disadvantages that minority scientists have encountered.

Kellina Craig-Henderson of the National Science Foundation and Roderic Pettigrew of the National Institutes of Health discussed their agencies’ roles in developing programs and initiatives to expand diversity in the scientific workforce.

Both agencies acknowledge they are losing minority scientists at multiple stages along the career pipeline and that additional work is needed to support and sustain a diverse scientific workforce.

Led by the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), CEDS is a coalition of professional associations and research societies in the behavioral, physical, and social sciences that together seek to understand and enhance the status and broaden the participation of women and racial ethnic minority scientists. AERA is instrumental in the development and implementation of the CEDS initiatives.

“Through the collaborative efforts of COSSA members on the CEDS initiative, we have research, knowledge, and theoretical perspectives from across the disciplines to help us understand the importance of diversity in science, how science intervention programs operate, and the effectiveness of these programs,” said George L. Wimberly, AERA Director of Professional Development and member of the CEDS team. “Congress, federal agencies, universities, and associations are now in a unique position to support initiatives that can help our nation diversify the scientific workforce and shape what we learn from science.” 

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