Gender inequity at every step of publishing

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I sat down to my laptop this morning and was looking forward to getting to work. But then I looked at the news. And I saw this: “It is apparent that the gender gap manifests at every stage of the publishing process — choice of journal, editorial decisions, referees’ decisions and even citations…This suggests something…

Actions required of men to advance gender equity in academia

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The last time I was in the audience for a Women-In-Science panel, a member of the audience asked something like, “Of all of the changes that we need to make, what matters most?” The panelist — Dr. Joan Herbers — responded,  “The single most important thing we can do is get men to change their behavior.”

NSF Graduate Fellowships and the path towards equity

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When I visited the SACNAS conference some weeks ago, I spent most of my time in the exhibit hall, chatting with students at their posters and scoping out the institutional recruitment tables. A few organizations had primo real estate, with a large amount of square footage right by the entrance. They had a small army of representatives,…

A mountain of progress still needed for equity in science

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Most senior scientists aren’t from ethnic backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences, and don’t train many scientists from these backgrounds either. The day-to-day issues facing black and Latino students in the US might be on the minds of people in charge, but the people in charge don’t face the same day-to-day challenges. I haven’t experienced those problems…

Recommended reads #188

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The science of changing the minds of unreasonable people This longform article, “Private Schools Are Indefensible” captures the fundamental issues here so strikingly. [highlighted read] How to nominate people for awards, especially women and minoritized scientists.

Adjusting scholarship expectations after the pandemic ends

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For most of us, academic productivity has taken a huge hit over the past year. And that’s fine. If you’re working from home full time while raising young children doing remote schooling, I can’t imagine how you have done anything above the bare minimum. For the rest of us, it’s entirely reasonable to have not…

Recommended reads #182

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Seven principles for good practice in midterm student feedback Teaching and learning in ecology: a horizon scan of emerging challenges and solutions The data are in about promotions and professional advancement for women and men since the start of the pandemic, and it’s so, so bad. Not a surprise at all, but still a complete…

Recommended reads #181

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The author of the infamous Carreira letter just became the Editor-in-Chief of the flagship journal of the American Chemical Society. (This month, he issued another nonpology. He says he regrets writing it. I sure bet he does!) An American teenager who doesn’t speak Scots wrote many of the Scots Wikipedia entries. Now Wikipedians are figuring…

Recommended reads #180

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A detailed account of how Eunice Foote conceived the role of atmospheric gases in climate warming in 1856, and how she designed and conducted her experiments. It’s pretty cool. Is lecturing racist? What is the effect of Article Processing Charges on the geographic diversity of authors? Are paywalled journals more accessible to publish in for…

What’s up with the new NSF GRFP priority areas?

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The new solicitation for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program arrived last night with NSF’s daily digest bulletin. There were eight items they brought to our attention as changes from last year, but when I was going through it late this morning, the soundtrack screeched to a halt: 4. Although NSF will continue to fund…

Making sure your online course has what it needs

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For a lot of us, this Fall will be our first experience teaching fully online. This shouldn’t be like emergency teaching in the Spring. We can be ready. I think it’s unfair to students if, yet again, we bumble through online teaching. What can do we do to make sure that our courses are designed…

Recommended reads #175

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‘Keep the volume low’: Being black on campus “The world has never been fundamentally fair and decent for most people in most places, and yet they manage to build lives full of meaning and suffering and joy.” I shared this not long ago, but it seems that not everybody is yet aware of or talking…

Recommended reads #173

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Teacher evaluation form for Spring 2020, from McSweeney’s This is a very handy and straightforward resource to help you create an accessible online course. Asking little kids to “do science” is substantially more impactful than asking them to “be scientists.” Just in case you wondered whether words matter, and whether subtle differences can have a…

Recommended reads #171

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Noted philosophers reconsider their key insights after a month of social distancing. George Saunders’s letter to his students about the pandemic. Our pandemic summer [highlighted read] This piece by Ed Yong is another supreme piece of journalism. He’s going to get an award for his work in The Atlantic during this pandemic, I hope?

Who can we trust?

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When you’re in a position where someone can marginalize you without experiencing adverse consequences, you’re more susceptible to having others take advantage of you. The tragic implication of this dynamic is that the people who are in the greatest need of support and collaboration are also the people who need to be the most selective in choosing professional partnerships.

Help us to diversify and humanize biology courses!

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a guest post by Project Biodiversify (www.projectbiodiversify.org @biodiversifying) We contain multitudes. Our courses should reflect this. We contain multitudes. Like an ecological niche, a person’s identity is composed of infinite dimensions that make up a person or group’s collective identity space (Figure 1). However, in science – a discipline that has historically valued objective and…

Retooling at mid-career

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At mid-career, a lot of the research techniques and approaches that people in use today today didn’t exist when we were in grad school. When I started my own lab around the turn of the century, we didn’t have R but there was S, microsatellites were a cutting edge technology replacing allozymes, the browser we…

Look in your own backyard

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Metaphorically, that is. What can you do to increase the representation of minoritized people in your department and in your lab? Well, the big answer to the question is that anything worthwhile takes work. This is not just worthwhile, it’s important. So, it will require effort on your part. And it means challenging yourself to…

Recommended reads #155

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It’s never going to be perfect, so just get it done. Stats on tenure-track hires in Ecology and Evolution, in which Dr. Fox combs though a lot of CVs. Yet another piece of research showing that “learning styles” is not a thing.

The price of the Gender Tax at home

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Fellow men, I recommend against joining a criminal conspiracy to get your kids into a prestigious college. But if you do go this route, you better do your share so that your own ass gets arrested along with your spouse.

Let’s imagine an alternative universe, where it’s illegal to get your kid braces, or arrange for them to go to summer camp, or to pick them up after soccer practice, or to be involved in their girl scout troop, or to go to parent-teacher conferences. Ask yourself, would your spouse be more likely to get arrested than you would be?