Climate Site Visits

Site visits help physics departments and consortia, as well as national and private labs, to take action that will improve their environment for everyone.

Climate site visit goals

Climate site visits are a process to assist physics departments, labs, and consortia with understanding their current conditions and take action to foster environments that are inclusive and welcoming to women, gender diverse individuals, and underrepresented groups in physics. The goals of these visits are:

  • To improve the climate for all, with special attention to women, gender diverse individuals. and underrepresented groups in physics
  • To provide assistance to departments, labs, or consortia to institutionalize positive climate changes

Engaging faculty, staff, and students in the process, APS leaders and volunteers conduct a two-day visit of the physics institution and then provide actionable recommendations and opportunities to foster a more inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment.

Requesting a visit

The physics department chair or equivalent at a lab or consortium must be the individual who requests a climate site visit.

If you are a student or other member of a physics institution interested in a site visit, we encourage you to raise your concerns within your institution or contact the APS climate site visit team for other suggestions and strategies.

All data and information collected during the site visit are kept confidential.

Costs and memorandum of understanding

The department or institution requesting the site visit is responsible for covering the visit costs, typically about $5,000 to $7,000.

Costs for physics departments include a management fee of $1,500 and travel, food, and lodging expenses for site visitors. These costs do not include a recommended $1,000 per person honorarium for visitors, which APS recommends. Costs for labs and consortia may be slightly higher.

Costs for the visit will be agreed upon through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the institution and the APS site visit group. The MOU will also establish expectations of the department or institution, the site visit group, and APS.

Timing and preparation

After APS receives the request, the site visit typically occurs about nine months later.

Before the visit, the institution should engage in preparation activities including:

  • Participating in a half hour video conference with the APS site visit group
  • Preparing faculty, students, staff, and other key individuals at the institution to actively participate in the site visit
  • Conducting a self-study
  • Distributing confidential APS climate surveys throughout the institution at least four weeks prior to the visit, with a reminder a week before the visit
  • Making travel, meal, lodging, and meeting room arrangements with the APS site visit group and the institution
  • Preparing a visit agenda

Expectations during and after a visit

During the site visit, APS expects active participation and good attendance from relevant groups and individuals. After the site visit, the department or institution should be prepared for the following:

  • APS will send a satisfaction survey to the institution a few days after the site visit
  • A site visit report compiled by the site visit group with recommendations, which the institution should distribute to relevant stakeholders
  • An action plan created by the institution within ten weeks of the visit based on the report's recommendations
  • A brief activity report detailing actions taken, evidence for improvement, effectiveness and impact of the visit, and next steps for the institution that is sent to the site visit group chair and lead a year after the visit

Request a site visit today

Volunteer to assist with a visit

Volunteering assists physics institutions in fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. Our visits depend upon volunteers bringing their interest and knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion and their passion for physics to make each site visit a success.

Sign-up to volunteer

Volunteer expectations

As a volunteer member of the site visit group, you are representing APS and our values, and the purpose of your visit should be focused on improving the institution's physics climate. Additionally, as a volunteer, you will:

  • Complete a site visit training with APS
  • Attend the site visit and interview institutional leaders, such as department members and administrators, as well as students
  • Assist in drafting the site visit report

Please contact the APS climate site visits team with questions or for more information about expectations of site visit volunteers.

Past site visit hosts

These institutions have hosted climate site visits.

  • Pennsylvania State University, 2023
  • University of Oklahoma, 2023
  • University of Ottawa, 2023
  • Carnegie Mellon University, 2022
  • DIII-D National Fusion Facility, 2022
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2022
  • Columbia University, 2020
  • University of Toronto, 2019
  • Wesleyan University, 2019
  • University of Pittsburgh, 2019
  • MCST, National Renewable Energy Lab, 2019
  • APS Editorial Office, 2019
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville, 2019
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics Division, Brookhaven National Lab, 2019
  • University of California, San Diego, 2018
  • Princeton University, 2018
  • University of Washington, 2018
  • UCLA, 2018
  • Emory University, 2018
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, 2018
  • University of Central Florida, 2017
  • University of California, Irvine, 2017
  • US Collaboration for the ATLAS Experiment, 2017
  • University of Waterloo & the Institute for Quantum Computing, 2016
  • Case Western Reserve University (conducted with the APS Committee on Minorities in Physics), 2016
  • Syracuse University (Gender Equity Conversation Visit), 2016
  • University of California, Davis (conducted with the APS Committee on Minorities in Physics), 2016
  • College of William & Mary (Gender Equity Conversation Visit, conducted with the APS Committee on Minorities in Physics), 2015
  • Drexel University, 2015
  • Colorado School of Mines, 2015 (return visit)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (Gender Equity Conversation Visit, conducted with the APS Committee on Minorities in Physics), 2015
  • PHENIX Collaboration, 2015
  • STAR Collaboration, 2015
  • North Carolina State University, 2014
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2014
  • Sloan Digital Sky Survey, 2014


If you have questions, we'd be happy to answer them. Please email the APS climate site visits team.


From experience conducting site visits, APS has compiled best practices for a positive work and study climate that you can implement in your department, lab, or consortium.

A group of people working together around a table

A welcoming community working to transform physics by enacting strategies to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A diverse group of students chatting together on steps

The APS Bridge Program addresses diversity gaps by providing pathways to graduate school for students from underrepresented groups.

A student and a physicist sitting together at a table at APS March Meeting

We're committed to fostering a welcoming physics community where everyone passionate about science can succeed.

Join your Society

If you embrace scientific discovery, truth and integrity, partnership, inclusion, and lifelong curiosity, this is your professional home.