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February 6, 2012

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Minutes of WHOI Diversity Committee Meeting on February 6th 2012


Members present (alphabetical order):

Shawn Arellano

Alessandro Bocconcelli

Ellie Bors

Hauke Kite-Powell

Wu-Jung Lee

Jian Lin

Michelle McCafferty

Stephanie Murphy

Sandipa Singh

David Wang


(Not present: Lonny Lippsett and Anne Sweck)

  1. Introduction of new committee members: Three Joint Program students have joined the committee: Ellie Bors (Biology), David Wang (Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry), and Wu-Jung Lee (Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering). Additionally, Hauke Kite-Powell from the Marine Policy Center has joined.
  2. Jian Lin gave a brief overview of the WHOI diversity committee and its role in larger initiatives in Woods hole.  In July 2004, the directors of the six scientific institutions in Woods Hole signed a MOU to promote diversity in the working environment and work force. Institution leaders constitute the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative (WHDI) committee.  In November 2004, the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee (WHDAC) was formed to serve in an advisory role on issue of diversity.   Each Woods Hole institution nominates 1-4 individuals to serve on the WHDAC.  The new co-chairs of the WHOI diversity committee (Stephanie Murphy and Hauke Kite-Powell) will join the WHDAC, together with Jian Lin, who has been asked by WHDAC to remain as a member because of his expertise and to ensure continuity. The Partnership Education Program, or PEP was a result of the efforts of the WHDAC. Also, the summer diversity events are organized by WHDAC.
  3. Election of new leadership Jian Lin and Lonny Lippsett, having served as co-chairs of the WHOI diversity committee for two years, are stepping down.  Through a nomination process and then a vote, the new co-chairs are decided to be Stephanie Murphy and Hauke Kite-Powell.  Because of the requirement to have one tenured scientist as a member of the WHOI diversity committee, Jian Lin will stay on as a member in 2012.The two new co-secretaries are Ellie Bors and Shawn Arellano.  Sandipa Singh will continue to be the web master of the committee web site.
  4. Discussion about different Woods Hole institutions and the role we hope WHOI can play We discussed a survey about WHOI carried out in 2007 by the committee.  The committee agreed that we are interested in WHOI actively pursuing diversity as an important part of our mission. 
  5. Possible actions for the committee this year: The committee is interested in pursuing an idea from 2010 to organize “Bridge Lecture Series.”  These are meant to take place at institutions that may not normally have contact with WHOI scientists to discuss academic and career paths in ocean sciences with students from underprivileged backgrounds or from underrepresented groups.  WHOI personnel who may be giving a lecture already in a city or at a university are encouraged to stay an extra day to reach out to these communities. We discussed ways to celebrate diversity at WHOI in the form of a cultural celebration that is coupled with educational lectures, together with optional panel discussion, about the importance of diversity.  Some potential speakers were discussed for a diversity lecture or small lecture series to generate enthusiasm in the community.  Committee members are tasked to identify such speakers for the next meeting. We also discussed the importance of generating support in higher levels of the Institution’s administration, including the Board of Trustees. 
  6. Other current events: Stephanie alerted us to outreach activities happening regionally to high schools and grade schools with the goal of reaching out to communities that do not normally get involved in ocean sciences.  She also discussed the Black History Month events in Woods Hole.
  7. Action Items: 
    1. Identify possibly speakers for a WHOI-sponsored diversity lecture for 2012.
    2. Identify someone form the MIT diversity initiative to come to WHOI to discuss actions taken at MIT to improve diversity. This event could be combined with the above mentioned diversity lecture.
    3. Get the word out about mentoring at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Conference (Shawn)
    4. Re-open the discussion about Bridge Lecture Series with WHOI administrators.
  8. Next committee meeting: March 7, 10:30 AM – 12 noon: It is recommended that during the MIT spring semester from February to May, the meetings of the WHOI diversity committees will be held on Wednesday mornings. Our next meeting is scheduled for March 7, Wednesday, 10:30 AM – 12 Noon in Woods Hole village.  Stephanie will book a room and send out an announcement.


Last updated: March 6, 2012

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