APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA)

APS-IDEA is an initiative to transform the culture of physics by supporting students, staff, and faculty in physics departments and laboratories to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity in their respective domains. The initiative was awarded funding by the 2019 APS Innovation Fund. The project is intended to complement and support existing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives of APS and other organizations, departmental self-studies and external reviews, and university-wide efforts.

A pilot project will convene teams from about 30 physics departments and laboratories to form a national network, exchange ideas and information, deepen knowledge of research and effective practices, and develop or improve EDI strategic plans. This group will attend a workshop in late Spring, 2020 to share experiences, build relationships, discuss various EDI initiatives and reports from physics and related disciplines, experience leadership development activities, learn about theories of change, and begin planning IDEA’s programs. Department chairs must endorse their team’s participation in order to ensure that meeting participants have buy-in for their efforts. The workshop will begin to develop a Community of Transformation, a community of practice that deliberately envisions and enacts a new paradigm of practice across a distributed set of organizations. The two-year pilot project will also establish an online learning community to support its members and will hold a second workshop in 2021. If the pilot project is successful, we will seek funding to scale it up.

Two ideas lie at the foundation of APS-IDEA: Sensemaking and Shared Leadership. Sensemaking is a shared learning process to create meaning through dialogue. Shared leadership utilizes top-down, bottom-up, and distributed leadership in order to share power, obtain multiple perspectives, and provide internal accountability for outcomes.

APS IDEALS (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance Leadership Strategies)

Vision: As a result of collective efforts, physics and related fields will become fully inclusive of all social identities, with a diversity similar to that of the nation, and with an equitable distribution of opportunities and resources.

Mission: APS-IDEA seeks to empower and support physics departments, laboratories, and other organizations to identify and enact strategies for improving equity, diversity, and inclusion. It will do so by establishing a Community of Transformation.

Guiding Principles: how we do our work

  • Center the marginalized across all identities, including early career scientists
  • Utilize sensemaking, including creating brave spaces supporting learning from mistakes
  • Guided by research-based change-management methods where they exist
  • Project management team and all supporting groups must be diverse

For more information about the project, please contact Edmund Bertschinger (edbert@mit.edu).

If you would like to get updates about the APS-IDEA project, please submit the following information: