Attending: Beth Andrews, David Gaylord, Ernst Galutschek, Kerry Heywood, Annette Hynes, Di Jin,
Mary Lardie, Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Amelie Scheltema, Shona Vitelli, Joan Watring (all
WHOI Diversity Committee), as well as Judy Fenwick and Jian Lin (Woods Hole Diversity
Co-chair Shona Vitelli welcomed everyone and introduced the new postdoc representative, Ernst
Galutschek, to the committee.
Shona asked for volunteers to join the Wood Hole Black History Month committee for 2009. This
year there was no WHOI representative on the committee and WHOI did not contribute financially to the event. Ami expressed interest in joining the committee. We also discussed the apparent lack of interest by students and employees of the Institution in this event. The location (Swope) may be partly to blame and it was suggested to explore the use of the Redfield Auditorium for Black History Months events. The suggestion to have student representatives on the committee was raised. The need for better across-Institutional connections and communications was also mentioned. For instance, Ernst mentioned the difficulties with forging closer ties between postdoctoral scientists at the various Woods Hole Institutions.
Jian and Judy Fenwick gave a brief update on the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee (WHDAC), specifically the meeting with Associate Dean Larry Brown from Virginia State University, who was visiting WHOI last week and spent one morning discussing diversity issues with members of the WHDAC and our committee. Virginia State University is a Historically Black College/University with about 5000, predominantly minority, students with a diverse faculty. Larry Brown offered to help make Virginia State students aware of opportunities in marine sciences at WHOI. We discussed strategies for attracting a more diverse student body to WHOI and other Woods Hole Institutions, including working with local schools, formal ties between WHOI and Colleges/Universities serving predominantly underrepresented groups in science and engineering, as well as satellite presence of WHOI in locations with a more diverse population. National and local trends in education are not necessarily favorable. Locally, Judy mentioned that Earth Science has been eliminated as an independent subject in Falmouth Schools, as teaching Earth Science is no longer required by the MCAS standards. Larry Brown said that the Geology Department at Virginia State University closed a few years ago due to low enrollment. There is currently “only” a research center of excellence in Energy and Environmental Studies.
Judy mentioned that WHDAC has compiled data on institutional diversity across Woods Hole
Institutions. This compilation was included in an information package for MA Senate President Theresa Murray as part of the “diversity officer” position WHDAC is seeking financial support for. Judy offered to ask Jane McNeal (MMBL & WHDAC) for a copy of this compilation.
We discussed the upcoming meeting with Trustees and Corporation members at the next Board meeting, May 15-16. Judy Fenwick suggested preparing an information package to interested Board members, analogous to the package prepared by WHDAC for Therese Murray. The issue of diversity at WHOI was raised by Ami and Shona at both the Redfield and the Clark 507 open meetings with Newt Merril, the new President of the WHOI Board of Trustees. The first across-Institution activities, PEP – Partnership Education Program, are under way. We hope to raise awareness to the level that “Diversity” is included in the next WHOI Strategic Plan.
Jian raised the issue of a renewed MOU between the six WHDAC Institutions. All except one of the
original Institution members (John Bullard, SEA) have left Woods Hole Institution leadership positions.
Mary gave an update on the planning for Diversity Celebration 2008. The event is now called
Diversity Week and is planned for June 22-26. The opening speaker on Sunday, June 22, at SEA will be Bill Pinkey, the first African American who circumnavigated the world. Each WH institution will host a different event on various days. WHOI will host the movie “Elephant Man” on Tuesday, June 24. The Diversity Day celebration will be held on Thursday, June 26 on the Challenger House lawn.
Annette gave a brief update on the “diversity brochure”. The deadline for the WHOI/DAC is April 16. We briefly discussed the wording of the brochure text and encouraged everyone to send comments and suggestions to Annette and Ami.
Shona updated the committee on her attempt to formalize a budget for our committee. This budget is needed to financially support training, workshops, performances etc. by outside groups and speakers. Shona said that Carolyn Bunker is supportive of a budget for our committee. WHOI currently supports the WHDAC with an annual contribution of $3000. The discussion of meeting agenda item II c “Need momentum/leadership for workshop/trainings” and item III c “International Committee Activities: Glitter Ball” were postponed until the next meeting.
Shona invited everyone to attend the panel discussion organized for the Women’s History Month that starts at 3:30 pm on Thursday. The discussion will be moderated by Susan Avery.
The Committee agreed to meet again on April 29 from 1:30-2:30 pm in the MRF room 204.