We are thrilled to share that Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman has joined the SEA Change team as our Deputy Director! Dr. Sinclair-Chapman joins us from Purdue University where she was a full professor of political science and served as director of Purdue’s Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion and facilitator for the ADVANCE-Purdue Diversity Catalyst Program. Dr. Sinclair-Chapman will guide the SEA Change initiative through our next period of growth as we continue to support colleges and universities through systemic transformation in pursuit of excellence in STEMM.
Three universities are the newest charter members of SEA Change, an initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that supports educational institutions as they systemically transform to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The new charter members are the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Clemson University and the University of Iowa. The universities are among the 26 institutions around the country who have publicly committed to SEA Change guiding principles of equity and full participation of each individual across gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, familial history of higher education or any other aspect of identity that has been a source of bias in STEMM.
Penn State will honor scientist and advocate Shirley M. Malcom, whose pioneering work has helped open doors for women of color in the sciences, by naming a building at Innovation Park in her honor on April 8, 2022. The 329 Building at Innovation Park will be renamed “The Shirley M. Malcom Building” in honor of Malcom, who earned her doctorate in ecology from Penn State in 1974.
“Honoring Penn State pioneers and innovators has long been a part of our institutional identity,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “In that spirit, I’m very pleased that the ‘329 Building’ will now be known as the ‘Shirley M. Malcom Building.’ As a noted scientist, a former presidential appointee, a leading advocate for representation in the sciences for women and girls of color, Dr. Malcom is an inspiration to those who follow in her footsteps.”
Three universities are joining the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s SEA Change initiative in a public commitment to systemic transformation into more diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces where the full range of talent can succeed in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. The new charter members are The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Southern Mississippi, and Kent State University.
To recognize and celebrate the important role mentors serve during the education, training, and advancement of promising students and scientists, the Institute has established the Shirley M. Malcom Prize for Excellence in Mentoring. The prize honors senior trustee Shirley Malcom's long-standing commitment, via her personal mentorship, national leadership, and international advocacy, to make STEM education and access equitable for all.
Diversity training. Task forces. Committing to a diversity initiative, but making one office entirely responsible for it. These are what Shirley Malcom and Travis York like to call “change traps” — things colleges seem to do over and over again to try to solve their diversity problems, with limited success. Through SEA Change, directed by Malcom, the AAAS enters into long-term partnerships with universities, helping them craft data-driven action plans on diversity, equity, and inclusion that focus on the structural barriers — like implicit bias in hiring and pay inequities — for people of color and women, particularly in STEM fields.
Five colleges and universities are joining the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s SEA Change initiative in a public commitment to systemic transformation into more diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces where the full range of talent can succeed in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The new charter members are Eckerd College, Olin College of Engineering, Rutgers University, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Wayne State University. They join seven other institutions around the country who announced their involvement in SEA Change in 2020.
As a growing chorus of voices calls for systemic change to address the systemic problems of sexism and racism in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM), the SEA Change initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science aims to support educational institutions as they transform into diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces. SEA (STEMM Equity Achievement) Change was formally launched by AAAS in 2017 but is the culmination of a career's work in the making: that of the initiative's director, Shirley Malcom.
Arizona State University and the University of California, Irvine, are being recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their commitment to becoming more diverse, inclusive and equitable spaces where the full range of talent can thrive in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The universities will receive the 2021 SEA Change Institutional Bronze Award, which honors institutions for the steps they have taken to make that vision a reality.
Gary S. May, chancellor of the University of California, Davis, will receive the 2021 Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “In every role Chancellor May has played in higher education, he has sought to support the entry and success of students from underrepresented minority populations and first-generation college students,” said Shirley Malcom, director of SEA Change, a AAAS initiative that helps universities build more inclusive campuses. “Leadership matters a lot in diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, and we are pleased he has been recognized for a lifetime of such leadership.”
SEA Change – the initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to support colleges and universities as they systematically transform themselves into diverse, equitable and inclusive institutions – is expanding its reach with the announcement of four new charter members across the country. The new charter members are Arizona State University; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Florida; and Westfield State University. They join the first SEA Change charter members, announced in August, in a national network publicly committed to creating sustainable changes to recruit, retain and advance the full range of diverse talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
In the last episode of the science season, After the Fact explores how scientists communicate: What is the state of our national conversation on science, and who is doing the talking? Guests include Laura Lindenfeld, executive director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, and Shirley Malcom of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Three universities are the first charter members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s SEA Change initiative, which supports educational institutions as they systematically transform themselves into diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces that recruit, retain and advance the full range of talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. The new SEA Change charter members are North Carolina State University; University of California, Davis; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Charter membership is “a public statement of commitment to success for all in STEMM, a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within the institution,” said Shirley Malcom, director of SEA Change and a senior advisor for AAAS.
We need institutions that will boldly demonstrate through action, not merely words, a commitment to removing systemic barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of their mission, embedded throughout institutional culture and organized in ways that are participatory rather than patronizing. As we begin our reimagining, let’s do the necessary work on diversity, equity and inclusion, especially in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Let’s commit our institutions to expanded purpose befitting the seriousness of the challenges we are being called upon to face. As our institutions emerge from these crises, we need to put in the work to make them better.
Earlier this month, OPN spoke with Shirley Malcom, who has advocated for decades for better representation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering, about the current state of Black representation in physics. For many years the head of education and human resources programs at AAAS, Malcom is now the senior advisor and director of SEA Change, an initiative to improve diversity and inclusion in higher education through a proven self-assessment process for academic institutions. Recently, Malcom wrote the foreword to the 2020 TEAM-UP report, which summarizes the findings of the American Institute of Physics’ (AIP’s) National Task Force to Elevate African-American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy. We talked with her about those findings, and also about the current effort at SEA Change.
We must acknowledge that our efforts thus far have fallen short of what is truly necessary: systemic change that transforms institutions—not just individuals. We must tackle the issue where it is most oppressive: deeply ingrained institutional systems. Through AAAS's SEA Change program, institutions of higher education commit to a self-reflection process with the aim of disentangling themselves from practices of the past that made inequities possible—indeed, almost inevitable. The program incentivizes institutions' alignment with SEA Change principles by publicly recognizing them for their commitment to and creation of sustainable systemic change through self-assessment. Now more than ever, we must embrace transformative national visions over piecemeal, individual-focused interventions.
Many in the AAAS Community are talking about and reflecting on ways to combat systemic racism as well as unconscious bias. Earlier this month, AAAS Community Superhero Chris Bolden, Ph.D. interviewed Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., on strategies and ways institutions and members of the AAAS Community can help support diversity, inclusion and equity in their fields. Malcom is Senior Advisor and director of SEA Change at AAAS. An ecologist by training, she currently works to support transformative change in teaching and learning, research and practice, to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEMM fields. Bolden is a T32 Translational Injury postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Surgery/Center for Translational Injury Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He is passionate about microbes, diversity and education.
Computer science and other technical departments, institutions and workplaces must “absorb” the equity and diversity efforts currently led by special programs, individuals and donations into their regular operations, said Shirley Malcom, AAAS’ senior adviser and director of SEA Change, in making her case to a virtual audience.
Published rankings of the world’s “best” colleges and universities, lawsuits claiming unfair admissions, and exposés of parents buying access to selective schools – these are all reminders of society’s fixation on the idea that getting into the right school guarantees success and happiness. For many students, college offers them neither happiness nor a place that encourages their success. The joy of getting in soon disappears, replaced by daily reminders that they don’t fit in. As a result – especially in the sciences – the students who should be our greatest strength, because of the diverse perspectives they bring to our campuses, are instead leaving at disproportionately high rates. But there are hopeful signs of change on campus. In the US, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s STEM Equity Achievement Change programme – inspired in part by the UK’s Athena SWAN scheme – encourages schools to improve their learning environment through a thorough self-assessment of their campus climate.
So far, institutions in the United States have mostly tackled individual barriers to women in science, whether it’s implicit bias or the heavy load of family responsibilities that women tend to have. “We have got to stop looking at it one barrier at a time and look at the entirety of the institution,” says Shirley Malcom, director of the Stem Equity Achievement (SEA) Change Initiative at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).