September Network Meeting

Date and Time

Thursday, September 15, 2022, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET or
Friday, September 16, 2022, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Teams only need to attend one meeting, and should choose the workshop timeslot that works best for them.

The meeting will take place on Zoom.

Introduction and Overview

The APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (APS IDEA) is an APS Innovation Fund initiative with a mission of empowering the physics community to enact strategies for improving equity, diversity, and inclusion. View the APS IDEA page.

The purpose of this networking meeting is to allow teams to build upon the knowledge framework from previous meetings, share experiences, build relationships, discuss various EDI initiatives and reports from physics and related disciplines, and experience leadership development activities.

All APS IDEA participants are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct for APS Meetings.


Speakers & Committees

Past Events

APS IDEA Town Hall (May 2022)
APS IDEA Virtual Meeting (February/March 2022)

Workshop Objectives

Please Note: Attendee Pre Work will include reviewing recordings of previous plenaries to get an overview of APS IDEA and the project's guiding principles.

  1. Introduce members to basic, unchanging, elements of APS IDEA (i.e. Guiding Principles, theories of change, empowered teams)
  2. Inform members of the changes to APS IDEA and give space for sensemaking
  3. Introduce the teams to the new team engagement structure (topical cohorts), so that they can make an informed choice
  4. Begin the transition of teams moving from OLC to topical groups

List of potential topical groups to be featured at this meeting:

  • Building Inclusive Academic Environments to Promote Student Wellbeing
  • Inclusive Recruitment & Hiring
  • Navigating Burnout: Making Informed Decisions on Maximizing Your Engagement Capacity
  • Assessing & Documenting Progress of EDI Efforts
  • Building Safe Spaces
  • Understanding Status Quo Science Culture


Workshop I

Thursday, September 15, 2022 • 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET

Times Event Schedule
6:00 - 6:10 p.m. Welcome and Introductions, overview of the program
6:10 - 6:20 p.m. Team experience with APS IDEA Guiding Principles
6:20 - 6:30 p.m. Introduce topical group structure
6:30 - 6:50 p.m. OLC Breakouts: Discussion prompts
6:50 - 7:00 p.m. Report outs
7:00 - 7:10 p.m. Break (10min)
7:10 - 7:20 p.m. High level overview of Topics being offered in Cohorts & Explanation of Parallel Sessions
7:20 - 8:00 p.m. Parallel Sessions I: Mini-topical groups
8:00 - 8:10 p.m. Break (10min)
8:10 - 8:50 p.m. Parallel Sessions II: Mini-topical groups
8:50 - 9:00 p.m. Closing Plenary: Inspirational Charge


Workshop II

Friday, September 16, 2022 • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Times Event Schedule
9:00 - 9:10 a.m. Welcome and Introductions, overview of the program
9:10 - 9:20 a.m. Team experience with APS IDEA Guiding Principles
9:20 - 9:30 a.m. Introduce topical group structure
9:30 - 9:50 a.m. OLC Breakouts: Discussion prompts
9:50 - 10:00 a.m. Report outs
10:00 - 10:10 a.m. Break (10min)
10:10 - 10:20 a.m. High level overview of Topics being offered in Cohorts & Explanation of Parallel Sessions
10:20 - 11:00 a.m. Parallel Sessions I: Mini-topical groups
11:00 - 11:10 a.m. Break (10min)
11:10 - 11:50 a.m. Parallel Sessions II: Mini-topical groups
11:50 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Closing Plenary: Inspirational Charge


Parallel Sessions

Notes: Unless otherwise noted below, all sessions will be offered twice and will be recorded for internal APS IDEA use only.

Session Session Information
A Title: Building Inclusive Academic Environments to Promote Student Wellbeing (Not Recorded)

Speakers: Electra Eleftheriadou, PhD (Sept. 15th) & Linda Strubbe, PhD (Sept. 16th)

Our departments and institutions have an invitation and responsibility to enhance how we support our students’ wellbeing – especially the wellbeing of students who hold marginalized identities. This is an important goal on its own, and it is crucial for creating physics and astronomy environments where students feel they belong and can thrive in their studies.

This topical group will explore themes in how we can create equitable and inclusive spaces that support the wellbeing of all students, such as fostering a sense of belonging, supporting the cultivation of a physics identity, and implementing inclusive teaching practices. The curriculum will be supported by recommendations from the TEAM-UP report, equity resources from the University of British Columbia, and other resources that the teams are invited to bring into this group. Our sessions will aim to develop our knowledge on this topic as a group, and support teams in thoughtfully putting ideas into practice.

[These sessions will not be recorded. We will provide a 1-page summary for members who will miss the sessions.]

B Title: Inclusive Recruitment & Hiring

Speakers: Gretal Leibnitz (Sept. 15) & Grace Wong Sneddon (Sept. 16)

Faculty diversity is a key component of higher education institutional missions, and a component of organizational and/or departmental strategic plans. Shifting endemic cultural racism and sexism is a structural and organizational problem that requires consistent and persistent focus, and accountability to address well. Further, if diversity training and programming are not done well, there is evidence that such programming can result in resistance and counterproductive results.

This topical group will start with exploring and crowd-sourcing tips and tactics to foster and refine a welcoming departmental climate for diverse faculty (pre-search activities), a critical first step in being able to attract AND retain a variety of faculty candidates (Sept 15th). Best practice active recruitment, interviewing, and on-boarding strategies will be discussed (Sept. 16th). Handout materials will provide rich examples and recommended resources for ongoing participant exploration of the topic. Participants are encouraged to share resources they have found valuable in their own recruitment and hiring practices.

C Title: Navigating Burnout: Making Informed Decisions on Maximizing Your Engagement Capacity (Not Recorded)

Speakers: Humna Awan (Sept. 15) & Tassia Ferreira (Sept. 16)

This session will introduce a Topical Cohort centered on how to navigate burnout in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) efforts, with specific attention paid to struggles of the teams in the Cohort and brainstorming ways to address them to ensure that EDI developments thrive without undue burden on any participant. The broader goal of this Cohort will be to facilitate second-order change at the institutional level, supporting EDI in the academic culture through the implementation of the core principles of APS IDEA and other relevant research-based methods specific to that topic.

We will start the session with our vision for the Cohort, including some examples of burnout and what it can do to engagement, primary drivers of burnout and some solutions to address them. We will also talk about the importance of discussing and addressing mental health for students and faculty of historically excluded backgrounds. After the introduction, we will launch into a roundtable of what session attendees think of when they consider the topic, and any struggles or coping mechanisms they have employed – this will help us tailor the curriculum and ensure its effectiveness for the Cohort participants.

D Title: Assessing & Documenting Progress of EDI Efforts

Speakers: Margaret Bailey (Sept. 15) & Crystal Bedley (Sept.16)

Documenting progress is essential for persuading stakeholders, challenging naysayers, understanding and improving climates, and ensuring data-driven decision-making. In this topical cohort, we'll take a deep dive into crafting and executing climate surveys, from identifying survey measures to reporting findings. You'll learn how to distinguish between assessment and evaluation of programs and initiatives. We will also explore and adapt strategies and tools for assessing EDI learning outcomes and evaluating the impact of EDI programs, events, and initiatives.

E Title: Building Safe Spaces

Speakers: Stephanie Williams (Sept. 15) & Edmund Bertschinger (Sept. 16)

Traditional physics spaces are rarely warm, inclusive places for newcomers and minoritized people. How can we make them so?

Educators often speak of “safe spaces” where students feel supported and valued, without needing to perform to dominant culture. Often people (including the APS IDEA project) advocate for “brave spaces” which emphasize civil discourse in discussions across groups. When differences in social power, positionality, and ideology appear, safety disappears. Sometimes the discourse necessarily becomes uncivil and the only truly safe spaces for minoritized scholars are counterspaces (Ong, Smith, and Ko 2017).

Building safety and avoiding sustained fragmentation after tension is not easy but it is both possible and rewarding. To start we engage in serious sensemaking about:

  • What is a safe space? Who is it safe for? Who is missing and why?
  • What is a brave space? Is it also safe?
  • How do our social identities impact if a space is safe or brave?
  • When spaces aren't safe, how do we address that? (change the spaces' dynamics, address individuals, create new space, etc)
  • Why are counterspaces necessary for healing?
  • Why are counterspaces necessary for institutions' growth?
  • Do counterspaces necessitate action?
  • Who is responsible for these spaces' decisions and/or actions?
  • How do you support growth from inside (interrupting microaggressions etc.) and outside (training on ally development, anti-harassment/racism, etc.) of counterspaces?

This session features sensemaking exercises on some of the questions posed above, and will be used to gather ideas for the monthly topical cohort series to follow.

F Title: Understanding status quo science culture, how it excludes folks and how to transform it (Not Recorded)

Speakers: Chandra Turpen (Sept. 15) & Tatiana Zanon (Sept. 16)

Abstract: This topical cohort aims to support critical reflection on the culture of science in order to make visible social and cultural clashes that impede the participation of particular groups (women and visible minorities) in the physical sciences. We will identify concrete approaches to changing ongoing biased and harmful practices in physics programs and departments. We will introduce concepts and sensemake about findings from the literature on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in STEM. We’ll offer hands-on activities to increase the participants’ awareness of messages and practices in their local context that might work as exclusionary mechanisms for non-dominant groups in the sciences. In some cases, these hands-on activities may be adapted to engage local departmental stakeholders in critically re-examining their local practice. Reflections from our cohort’s local change work and our topical cohort’s discussions will be synthesized into a critical guide for transforming collective scientific practices.


This project is sponsored by the APS Innovation Fund, AIP Diversity Action Fund, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and private donations.

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