14 April 2021

Help Us Track Progress Toward Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate School

Hua Liu

Hua Liu American Astronomical Society (AAS)

After a two-year study, the AAS Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion in Astronomy Graduate Education delivered its final report in January 2019, making recommendations both to departments and to the AAS. The report provides a practical guide for departments to increase diversity and inclusion in astronomy, with specific recommendations addressing admissions, retention, and data collection.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Astronomy Graduate Education
Credit: iStock

Among the recommendations for the AAS was a request to build a platform that would allow graduate departments to share publicly their adoption of the task force’s recommendations and progress in implementing them. We now have created a table design that does this.

We hope that this platform can serve as an information source for graduate-school applicants as well as for advisors in recommending departments for students. As of this writing, four departments have reported results on progress in implementing the recommendations. We ask for your help in getting your department to input its data. This can be done by the department chair or by a knowledgeable faculty or staff member, depending on how your department works.

How to Submit Your Department's Progress

  • Please go to the bottom of the Task Force page or click on the "Submit Your Institution’s Progress" button to start filling in the data — the form should take less than a half hour to complete as it takes you through several steps of data input.
  • You will receive a confirmation email after submission, which includes a link to help you edit and update your submission in the future. 
  • Once we receive your submission or update, we will publish the results within 48 hours.

How to Review Departments’ Progress

You can browse through all graduate institutions in the database to see how well they are implementing the task force’s recommendations. Each recommendation is broken into categories: Admissions, Retention, and Data Collection. The recommendations, by default, include a question-mark icon next to them if no data have been submitted. As more departments submit their information, the data populates and gives visitors a clear picture of each institution’s progress toward adopting and implementing the recommendations.

Since this table is complex, there are multiple ways of navigating the information. Only one institution is displayed at a time, and as you scroll down, a new institution comes into focus and the icons update accordingly. To navigate to categories of recommendations not currently visible on the screen, use the carousel controls to bring the first or last columns into view.

Submit Your Institution’s Progress

We hope you find this tool to be useful and that it helps us make progress toward a more diverse and inclusive astronomy community. If you have any questions about the tool, please contact Hua Liu.

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