National Academies Press: OpenBook

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief (2021)

Chapter:Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

Proceedings of a Workshop


IN BRIEF

October 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

A diverse workforce and inclusive workspaces are important components of future chemical and chemical engineering research. The workshop Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, held virtually on May 25–26, 2021, by the Chemical Sciences Roundtable (CSR), provided a venue for the chemical sciences community to discuss ideas and best practices for creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments. Specifically, the workshop (1) explored barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that are specific to chemistry and chemical engineering, (2) examined successful programs and best practices for increasing DEI in these fields, and (3) explored innovative approaches to create a culture in which all have equal opportunities to participate and advance. Ultimately, the workshop provided a forum for academic, government, and industrial participants to increase awareness of potential barriers to DEI and gain information needed to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments in their workplaces. This document summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place during the workshop, but it should not be viewed as consensus conclusions or recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The workshop videos and presentations are available online.1

KEYNOTE: EXPANDING PARTICIPATION OF UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITIES IN THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES: MOVING THE NEEDLE

Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Co-Founder of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, opened the workshop with a keynote speech sharing his perspective on how to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Hrabowski focused largely on the undergraduate experience, citing a report that found that many minority students do not succeed in natural science and engineering programs (NAS et al., 2011). He stated that factors such as the level of attraction to these (or other) disciplines and the amount of rigorous preparation of students prior to college were not found to play a significant role in the lack of minority student representation. Instead, Hrabowski noted that the problem is likely rooted in the experiences of students during their first 2 years in undergraduate scientific programs.

Hrabowski emphasized that, although the focus should be on moving the needle toward increasing diversity, “it is important to recognize any progress that’s being made—and there is progress being made.” This progress not only gives hope to the community, he said, but also more importantly can provide examples for other institutions looking to increase their diversity and to support inclusive environments. Replicating successful initiatives is just one of many suggestions that Hrabowski had for making progress. He also advised that universities set high expectations for themselves and be honest about what is and what is not working through consistent evaluation. Hrabowski stated that coordinated work among national agencies could help improve understanding of the efforts that are making a difference.

__________________


Image

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

Multiple participants asked for Hrabowski’s thoughts on the high cost of implementing institutional programs to support DEI. He acknowledged the reality that increased funds could likely contribute to improved and expanded initiatives. However, he urged the audience to focus on starting small, emphasizing the importance of making progress.

SESSION I: ESTABLISHED PROGRAMS

Session I began with a presentation from Dontarie Stallings, Associate Director of the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE), in which he shared his thoughts on cultivating change in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. Stallings also shared demographic data from those fields to provide a quantitative foundation for the subsequent discussions. He started his talk by reimagining the analogy of the leaky pipeline that is often used to describe the loss of diverse talent in a field. Instead of using a pipeline, which “focuses on the failure of individuals,” he presented the idea of a ladder where every rung represents a level in one’s career, and each transition between the rungs represents the opportunity for a student or professional to opt-out of matriculating on to the next rung. Stallings argued that placing focus on getting students and professionals to opt-in and to make the choice to stay in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering is critical.

Stallings then moved into a discussion of demographic data. For women, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans in academia, there is a drop in representation at every transition point between obtaining a BS degree through to becoming a full professor (Wu et al., 2014). Looking specifically at chemistry and chemical engineering, Stallings then shared data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES, 2021). Stallings explained that the data show that, although underrepresented people of color (URPOC) are enrolled in college in rates demographically proportional to the U.S. population as a whole, this is not the case for chemistry nor chemical engineering enrollments. While 34 percent of the U.S. population is comprised of URPOC, only 25.3 percent and 18.7 percent of individuals attaining degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively, are URPOC, he stated. Stallings also examined the drop in URPOC representation between those attaining a BS degree and a PhD in chemistry—25 percent to 12.9 percent, respectively. Stallings concluded by arguing that systemic change has to occur in order for URPOC to opt-in at every level.

Part I: Building a Climate Conducive to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Part I of session I served to examine established programs that work to increase DEI by enhancing institutional climates. Rebecca Ruck, Executive Director of Process Research and Development and Enabling Technologies Lead at Merck, began by articulating her motivation for helping to lead the charge to increase DEI at Merck. In addition to being driven by her experiences as a woman in chemistry, she said that the vision of the Enabling Technologies group empowers her to tap into the power of diversity (including diverse technical skill sets) to increase innovation within the company. Ruck then shared the timeline of progress at Merck for improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) over the past 6 years. What started as a grassroots effort, she stated, quickly evolved into actionable efforts and feedback loops leading to continuous improvement. Ruck described a few of these actions, which included organizing D&I forums, reverse mentoring, building a dedicated D&I team, and leveraging internal town halls to showcase TED-style talks given by team members that highlighted their personal experiences with D&I. She also shared her team’s vision for the future, which included increasing diverse representation at all levels in the organization, providing unconscious bias training, and improving resources for flexible work arrangements.

Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), shared his thoughts on how to improve the climates within universities and departments. Garcia-Garibay first stated that diversity increases the possibility of producing impactful science because the differences between people “broaden both the range of questions and the means to obtain their answers” in science. Everyone is unique and contributes to diversity, he argued, but inclusion, equity, dignity, and justice are aspects that also need to be considered. Garcia-Garibay noted that universities have legal obligations to ensure that various types of discrimination are prohibited on campuses and civil rights are upheld, but he argued that these laws and policies lead to schools being reactive in prescriptive ways. He continued by stating the way to be proactive is to work on changing the climate within these spaces (see Figure 1). Changes in leadership style, consistent commitment and messaging, building trust through accountability and transparency, and promoting human connections are some of the ways in which climates can be changed, according to Garcia-Garibay. He then shared his experience building a student-led group on UCLA’s campus, the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science (OCDS), which focuses on bettering the climate for graduate students. He explained that OCDS not only strives to make the graduate experience better for all students but also offers opportunities for individuals to reach their career goals. Garcia-Garibay ended by saying that groups like OCDS, with a focus on climate-building help to reduce conflict, have the potential to save an institution money, can lead to faculty and staff retention, and can ensure a more just working environment for everyone.

Travis York, Director of Inclusive STEM Ecosystems for Equity and Diversity (ISEED) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), presented information on the STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change pro-

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Image
FIGURE 1 Diagram showing the relationship between compliance and climate.
SOURCE: Garcia-Garibay presentation, slide 10.

gram that is housed within AAAS. York emphasized that building a more inclusive and diverse STEM faculty is critical for institutions to serve their students. While there may be a tendency to think of low representation of diverse faculty as a pipeline problem, a hiring problem, or a “revolving door” problem, York believes that the issue should be addressed holistically. He stressed that hard funded institutional commitments are needed for structural reform. Furthermore, York stated that it is important for “institutions to not just think about strategies and single implementations … but to really think about organizational and structural change.” SEA Change, founded in 2018, helps institutions understand the specific problems that they are facing and build evidence-based action plans to enact and sustain change, all based on the four frames model (see Figure 2). The program requires institutions to collect and provide data through regular reporting, which is then reviewed externally by other professionals in the field. York finished his talk by sharing that SEA Change is in the process of piloting new processes and expanding its reach to work within academic health centers and medical schools as well as with STEM professional societies to develop departmental awards.

Following the completion of the three talks, a question and answer session between the virtual audience and the three speakers took place. Addressing a question about ensuring that there is a space for people to have difficult conversations around DEI, York stated that, in order to prevent DEI from becoming a partisan issue, it should be approached as a journey and space that could be created to allow for mistakes to be made. A participant followed up by asking York how to show colleagues the value of investing in DEI. York proposed using distinct messaging for different groups, for example, white students and faculty may respond to economic arguments, Black and Latino individuals may respond to the argument that it is ethical to increase DEI, and STEM researchers in general could respond to the

Image
FIGURE 2 Four frames model for creating inclusive organizations.
SOURCE: Women in Engineering ProActive Network (adapted from https://www.simmons.edu/sites/default/files/2019-03/Insights%2001.pdf).
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

argument that diversity produces better science. Another participant asked how institutional accountability can actually lead to a change in culture. Ruck responded that a positive and inclusive climate is endemic to the success that her organization strives to achieve. Garcia-Garibay added that accountability is critical and there are several important metrics to track change, including both demographics data and data on the retention of all students in science.

Part II: Enhancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Talent Pool

Part II of session I served to examine established programs to increase DEI by focusing on the talent pool at those institutions. Lourdes Echegoyen, Director of the Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives and Research Associate Professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), began Part II by sharing information about UTEP’s strategic goals and the BUILDing Scholars program (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, a core component of a diversity program consortium at the National Institutes of Health). Echegoyen explained that UTEP is a commuter school that serves the community; 83 percent of the students enrolled are Hispanic and 50 percent are first-generation college attendees. She stated that a 10-year strategic plan with four main goals was developed in April 2020 to serve the student population. Echegoyen listed these goals as follows: (1) positively impact American higher education as an exemplary Hispanic-serving research university; (2) foster well-being in the community to promote healthier, more prosperous, and culturally enriched lives; (3) advance research, scholarship, and artistic expression with an emphasis on areas of current and emerging strength; and (4) provide students an excellent and engaged education at an inclusive university that builds on student strengths and demonstrates a culture of care. Echegoyen added that the BUILDing Scholars program at UTEP began as a way to get students, who would otherwise need to spend their time working off campus, more involved with their departments through paid research. Echegoyen ended her talk by sharing that retention rates have been higher for BUILD students, and on average those students are graduating with more competitive grade point averages and entering advanced degree programs at higher rates.

Ellen Wang Althaus, Director of the Sloan University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke about the impact of the UCEM program. Althaus started by sharing that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign became one of eight UCEMs in the country supported by the Sloan Foundation in 2015, which is an initiative to diversify the U.S. PhD-holding workforce by increasing the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented doctoral students in STEM. The UCEM at Illinois established a goal to recruit 50 doctoral scholars in the first 3 years. She said that this effort required commitment from the upper administration as well as endorsement and financial support from the 19 university departments that now participate. Althaus explained that when selecting scholars for the UCEM, qualities such as potential, persistence, and passion for scientific research are considered in addition to sustained personal engagement with underrepresented communities. The UCEM at Illinois works to provide students with the assets to succeed, she said, some of which include scholarship supplements, mentoring, networking, professional development, and a supportive community. Althaus concluded by sharing that, of the 100 scholars that they have supported, there has been an 83 percent retention rate and a 100 percent rate of job placement among graduates. She further stated that just prior to the launch of the UCEM, the percentage of minority students in chemistry and chemical engineering was 7.3 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, and these numbers have grown to 14.7 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively, for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Hoby Wedler, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hoby’s, shared his experience as a blind chemist and entrepreneur. Wedler spoke about his high school chemistry experience, stating that although his teacher inspired him to pursue a career in chemistry, he was told that it would be nearly impossible for him to succeed in a field based heavily on visual information. Wedler said that his response to this pushback was “nobody can see atoms, so there’s no reason chemistry shouldn’t be a cerebral science.” He shared his academic experience and the challenges he overcame. For example, he used a 3D printer in graduate school to feel what his peers were able to see on a graphical user interface. Wedler then explained that his passion for teaching translated into his current career as an entrepreneur where he focuses on translating science into a language that sales and marketing teams can understand. Wedler explained that he used this philosophy to launch a nonprofit called Accessible Science that hosted an annual chemistry camp for blind students. The goal of this camp, he said, was not to get the students excited about chemistry, but rather to show them that they can follow any career path, no matter how visually dependent that path might seem.

Christine Grant, Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement at North Carolina State University and President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), gave a talk on creating a culture of inclusion. Grant pointed out that these issues have been discussed for decades (see, for example, NRC, 2000, 2003). Noting the importance of celebrating the stories and successes of chemists and chemical engineers, Grant stressed the significance of mentoring relationships, but stated that “it is important to understand that your mentor does not have to … look just like you for the relationship to work,” and impactful mentors can be found through unanticipated mechanisms. She finished her talk by sharing information on the All for Good campaign within AIChE, which works to increase inclusion at every stage of the career continuum. She also highlighted the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) at AIChE, which gives scholarships to students pursuing STEM careers at historically black colleges and universities.

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

A participant inquired about information on models for peer mentorship. Echegoyen noted that there is a successful model used in the BUILDing Scholars program where sophomores mentor incoming freshman. Grant shared that she helped to run a set of peer mentoring summits for women of color engineering faculty, as she found that many women had never even met their peers. Althaus added that DEI work is everyone’s responsibility, and the more we work to cultivate that message, the more people will be willing to engage students and serve as mentors. Another participant asked the speakers about the possibility of skepticism among individuals within primarily white institutions when efforts are made to increase diversity. Echegoyen answered by stressing the importance of mentoring and training in DEI. She added that having conversations with both the leaders and the students at those institutions about being open to different cultures and offering educational resources on microaggressions are important. Wedler noted “it’s all about the mindset. With the right mindset, everybody can embrace everybody else, regardless of what they look like or what they sound like or who they are.”

KEYNOTE: WOMEN AND UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITY GRADUATE STUDENTS IN CHEMISTRY AND STEM

Geraldine Richmond, Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon and Founding Director of the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists (COACh), shared her views (via a pre-recorded presentation) on women and URM graduate students in chemistry and STEM. Richmond started by sharing that COACh was founded in the late 1990s after she had spoken with several mid-career women in chemistry who expressed frustration over how they were treated within their profession because of their gender. Once COACh was established, a series of workshops were conducted to help women build skills needed to advance their careers. Richmond stated that in addition to reaching more than 25,000 women through attendance at COACh workshops to date, the program also expanded its reach in 2012 to offer workshops and networking opportunities to women scientists in developing countries.

The majority of Richmond’s talk focused on data that COACh Research recently published on the factors contributing to the low retention of women and URM students in U.S. chemistry departments (Stockard et al., 2021). Richmond explained that the research was based on a survey produced by the American Chemical Society (ACS) that asked graduate students questions around four topics: (1) their relationship with their advisor, (2) the degree of support they receive from their peers, (3) their financial support, and (4) their career aspirations. Highlights from this research include:

  • URM students, particularly men, do not feel that they receive an equal level of support from their peers;
  • 37 percent of master’s students feel that they do not have adequate funding, and the percentage is even lower for students from minority-serving institutions;
  • women are less likely to believe that they will finish their PhD and remain in the chemical sciences;
  • and URM students are more likely to express aspirations to become a professor if there is just one URM faculty member in the department.

Richmond concluded her talk by emphasizing that “the success of graduate students is the key to [the] success of faculty, their research, the department, and the institution.”

SESSION II: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Session II included open dialogue and conversations about DEI in the chemical sciences. As this workshop was held virtually, a dedicated Slack workspace2 was used as the platform for these conversations. Participants were given 1 hour to engage in small group discussions around seven predetermined topics (see Table 1). The workshop planning committee members guided and observed the conversations, posting questions to prompt participant reactions and feedback. Following 1 hour of discussion, each planning committee member gave a 5-minute summary of the discourse from their group. Highlights from these summaries are shown in Table 1.

SESSION III: EMERGING PROGRAMS AND NEEDS

Session III served to highlight emerging programs that work to increase DEI and discuss examples of the needs to advance DEI in the chemical sciences. Judy Kim, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate Division at the University of California, San Diego, spoke about the ACS Bridge Project. Kim shared that the ACS Bridge Project was established in 2019 and aims to enhance the number of students who are able to earn a doctoral degree in the chemical sciences. As a member of the advisory board for the project, she stated

__________________

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

TABLE 1 Topics for Conversation and Highlights of the Discussions Held in Slack During Session II

Topic Discussion Highlightsa
Developing Mentoring and Advocacy Programs
  • The definition of mentoring may not be well articulated in the literature.
  • Assigned mentors can be ineffective; it could be beneficial for mentors and mentees to mutually choose one another.
  • An aspect of training could be blocking off time for mentorship.
  • Mentoring offered through professional societies can provide a network of mentors from all sectors.
Implementing Proactive Methodologies for Success
  • Success could be defined by measurable impacts and by achieving set goals.
  • Scaling up already established and successful programs would be helpful.
  • It would be beneficial to create a national repository of successful programs.
  • It is difficult for institutions to be proactive when they spend so much time being reactive.
Overcoming Institutionalized Barriers to Diverse Talent
  • There are often unwritten rules required to succeed that only the in-members of a group know.
  • Incremental changes can happen when there is a lack of buy-in from leadership, but they can lead to ineffective policies.
  • There are both direct (policies, procedures) and indirect (climate) barriers to implementing change.
Fostering Inclusive Classrooms and Workspaces
  • Transparency in training, promotion, and pay are important.
  • Outside consultants could come into organizations and help create a narrative and action plan to increase DEI.
  • Organizations are lacking language that effectively describes what DEI means for them and how individuals can achieve the expectations set of them.
Broadening the Role of Existing Resources and Networks
  • Large organizations like ACS and AIChE could be drivers of diversity and inclusion in chemistry and chemical engineering at both national and local levels.
  • Incorporating DEI into K–12 education can help change the culture earlier on.
Preparing Young Chemists/Chemical Engineers for Success
  • It is important to demystify the career path so that students can see themselves within it.
  • Equipping students with technical skills, soft skills, and the mental health skills to persevere through research is likely critical for success.
Communicating the Benefits of a Diverse Workforce
  • A helpful benefit to convey to others is that diversity leads to increased innovation and discovery.
  • There may be some individuals who think that diversity and excellence are at odds with each other.
  • Student selection and hiring processes do not always consider factors that would allow for more diverse candidates to be brought in.
  • Many metrics of success are not adequate nor equitable.

a The listed highlights are the rapporteur’s summary of the main discussion points made by individual participants, and the statements have not been endorsed or verified by the National Academies.

NOTE: The discussion highlights are taken directly from comments made by the workshop participants.

that the motivation for its development was the downward trend from the associate level to the doctoral level in the percentage of underrepresented students earning degrees. The project now has 9 sites and 20 partners across the nation that can accept students from the program into a master’s or postbaccalaureate program, with the ultimate goal of helping these students continue to doctoral programs. Kim stated that students interested in the project apply for all 29 schools at one time, and once enrolled in a program, the ACS Bridge students are supported based on the structure of the individual program. As an example, she described the current ACS Bridge program at the University of California, San Diego, where ACS Bridge students are offered full financial support and are provided with at least four mentors during their completion of the master’s program. Kim finished her talk by sharing that the project provides coaching to the students for PhD applications, although the students are not required to stay at the same university that they were placed in through ACS Bridge.

David Asai, Senior Director for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, shared strategies to advance racial and ethnic diversity in science. Asai began by explaining that instead of the term URM, he chooses to use the acronym PEER, which stands for Persons Excluded from science because of their Ethnicity or Race. He continued that the rate of persistence of PEERs in STEM is historically poor even though a myriad of interventions have been applied over the past decades. Asai noted that these interventions have aimed to fix the student and not the institution, which is not sufficient to achieve real and lasting change. Rather, Asai said, strategies should be adopted that integrate both diversity and equity framing. He defined diversity framing as quantitative and resulting in programs that focus on students, and defined equity framing as qualitative and focused on culture change. Asai then presented information on the Gilliam Graduate Fellowship Initiative created in 2005. He explained that until the Initiative was paused in 2014, it

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

was a strictly diversity-framed program and therefore had several shortcomings. The program reemerged in 2015 with a dual focus in diversity and equity, where the student is supported and there is a focus on the training environment. He continued that both the student and the advisor need to apply for the fellowship together, and in order to accept the award the advisor must commit to a year-long course on culturally aware mentorship. Asai concluded that the impacts of this year-long course include advisors disseminating what they learned to others at their home institutions and forming supportive communities.

Allyn Kaufmann, Whitespace & Innovation Lead, Research and Development for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare’s U.S. market, presented on changing the culture and systems within the chemical sciences industry. Kaufmann stated that the financial case for gender and ethnic diversity is strong, as increased diversity leads to higher performing companies with a 25 percent better chance of positive financial performance. He considered the mismatch between the chemical workforce and U.S. population demographics, and posited that it is in part due to the lack of inclusion of Latinx, Native American, and Black populations in the leadership at companies. Kaufmann went on to say that GSK Consumer Healthcare has had success in DEI initiatives because of a focus on people and communities, rather than just financial incentives. Kaufmann argued that having diverse leaders will lead to culture change in companies, and shared that GSK has committed to having 45 percent female representation in senior roles and 30 percent ethnically diverse leaders in vice president and above roles by 2025. He listed several other meaningful actions that companies can take, including internal policy reconciliation; focus on wage gaps, talent progression, and succession; and tackling invisibility bias, which has been important for Kaufmann as a member of the Native American community. He outlined additional opportunities that companies have provided, including recruiting and professional development conferences, apprenticeships, and internal campaigns and partnerships with community leaders and organizations. Kaufmann concluded that it is important for STEM companies to have programs and activities that allow URM employees to shine.

Sheryl Burgstahler, Founder and Director of Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington, presented on the benefits of universal design to ensure the inclusion of students with disabilities. She began by stating that students with disabilities may not feel welcome in some programs that have been mentioned throughout the workshop. Burgstahler continued that students who would otherwise be qualified for a program or institution might not be able to engage or participate because of accessibility issues. She directs two groups at the University of Washington that work to increase accessibility and inclusion: the IT Accessibility Team, which focuses on information technology, and the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center, which works with students with disabilities and helps other programs to help them be more inclusive. Burgstahler said that when working with other programs, they promote the application of universal design, which is a framework to help individuals think about how to make any initiative more inclusive and accessible (see Figure 3). Universal design, she said, is about making all students feel welcome and designing products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Burgstahler listed a variety of ways to increase accessibility, including providing multiple ways for participants to learn and engage, using text-based material, providing descriptive text for hyperlinks and images, and making instructions and expectations clear. She concluded by emphasizing that universal design is about continuous progress, and it is simply a process that can benefit everyone.

Image
FIGURE 3 Schematic highlighting the key characteristics of a universal design practice.
SOURCE: Burgstahler, 2015.
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

A participant raised a question about the inclusion of refugees at institutions. Kim commented that inclusion should not only encompass underrepresented students but it is also important to provide support for all groups, as much as possible. Asai was asked about encouraging other organizations to adopt the diversity and equity framing model that he presented, and he noted that the scientific community should strive to continue to make improvements to the current culture of science. Another participant asked about potential options for “low hanging fruit” when moving toward universal design in a classroom. Bergstahler responded that there are many opportunities, but in a physical classroom a good place to start may be the furniture. She suggested that having adjustable tables in classrooms can be one simple way to increase accessibility and include all students in small group discussions.

NEXT STEPS

Rigoberto Hernandez, Gompf Family Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, Director of OXIDE, and planning committee member, closed the workshop with his thoughts on the future of DEI in the chemical sciences. He stressed that a sustained discussion is needed to implement and foster a culture of diversity. It is important to integrate these discussions into all aspects of scientific research, said Hernandez, so that we can strive for and achieve inclusive excellence. Hernandez also shared his views on the benefit of creating a learning community in which individuals actively seek answers and information together to guide and advance their understanding of how to foster a diverse and inclusive environment. He reiterated that the scientific community should be held accountable, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to work toward an inclusive culture. Hernandez ended by saying “if we create an environment that is desirable for people from diverse backgrounds … they will choose to opt in—and that’s the environment we want to have.”

REFERENCES

Burgstahler, S. (Ed.) 2015. Universal design in higher education, second edition: From principles to practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

NAS, NAE, and IOM (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine). 2011. Expanding underrepresented minority participation: America’s science and technology talent at the crossroads. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12984.

NCSES (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics). 2021. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2021. Special Report NSF 21-321. https://ncses.nsf.gov/wmpd.

NRC (National Research Council). 2000. Women in the chemical workforce: A workshop report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10047.

NRC. 2003. Minorities in the chemical workforce: Diversity models that work: A workshop report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10653.

Stockard, J., C. M. Rohlfing, and G. L. Richmond. 2021. Equity for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM: Graduate experiences and career plans in chemistry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118(4):e2020508118.

Wu, M. L., H. N. Cheng, S. Shah, and R. Rich. 2014. Career challenges and opportunities in the global chemistry enterprise. ACS Symposium Series 1169(1):1–28.

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×

DISCLAIMER: This Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief was prepared by Jessica Wolfman as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The statements recorded here are those of the individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, the Chemical Sciences Roundtable, or the National Academies.

REVIEWERS: To ensure that this Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity, it was reviewed in draft form by Carlos Gonzalez, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Jean Tom, Bristol Myers Squibb. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank staff member Jennifer Cohen for reading and providing helpful comments on this manuscript.

Planning committee members were Carlos Gonzalez, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Ian Henry, Procter & Gamble; Rigoberto Hernandez, Johns Hopkins University; Malika Jeffries-El, Boston University; Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society; Cheryl Leggon, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Leyte Winfield, Spelman College. National Academies’ staff were Jessica Wolfman and Kesiah Clement.

ABOUT THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE

The Chemical Sciences Roundtable provides a neutral forum to advance the understanding of issues in the chemical sciences and technologies that affect government, industry, academic, national laboratory, and nonprofit sectors and the interactions among them and to furnish a vehicle for education, exchange of information, and discussion of issues and trends that affect the chemical sciences. The roundtable accomplishes its objectives by holding annual meetings of its members and by organizing webinars and workshops on relevant important topics.

Chemical Sciences Roundtable members are Linda Broadbelt (Co-Chair), Northwestern University; Michael J. Fuller (Co-Chair), Chevron Energy Technology Company; Brian Baynes, MODO Global Technologies; David Berkowitz, National Science Foundation; Michael R. Berman, Air Force Office of Scientific Research; Martin Burke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Miles Fabian, National Institutes of General Medical Sciences; Laura Gagliardi, The University of Chicago; Bruce Garrett, U.S. Department of Energy; Franz Geiger, Northwestern University; Carlos Gonzalez, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Malika Jeffries-El, Boston University; Mark E. Jones, Dow Chemical (Retired); Jack Kaye, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society; Robert E. Maleczka, Jr., Michigan State University; David Myers, GCP Applied Technologies; Timothy Patten, National Science Foundation; Nicola Pohl, Indiana University; Ashutosh Rao, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Sunita Satyapal, U.S. Department of Energy; and Jake Yeston, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This activity was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant CHE-1546732 and the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant DE-FG02-07ER15872. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in chemistry and chemical engineering: Proceedings of a workshop—in brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. http://doi.org/10.17226/26334.

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Image

Copyright 2021 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page1
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page2
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page3
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page4
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page5
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page6
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page7
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page8
Suggested Citation:"Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26334.
×
Page9
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

A diverse workforce and inclusive workspaces are important components of future chemical and chemical engineering research. The workshop Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, held virtually on May 25-26, 2021, by the Chemical Sciences Roundtable, provided a venue for the chemical sciences community to discuss ideas and best practices for creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments. Specifically, the workshop (1) explored barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that are specific to chemistry and chemical engineering, (2) examined successful programs and best practices for increasing DEI in these fields, and (3) explored innovative approaches to create a culture in which all have equal opportunities to participate and advance. Ultimately, the workshop provided a forum for academic, government, and industrial participants to increase awareness of potential barriers to DEI and gain information needed to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments in their workplaces. This document summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place during the workshop.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!