Advancing Inclusive Leaders in Astronomy

Funded by the National Science Foundation (AST#1743117)

The Advancing Inclusive Leaders in Astronomy project will capitalize on ISEE’s extensive partnerships, alumni, and experience from programs refined over many years to expand our reach into the national astronomy community, and enable our alumni to be leaders in making teaching and mentoring more inclusive. The outcomes to be achieved in this project will move us toward our long-term goals:

  • Prepare astronomy graduate students and postdocs to teach and mentor effectively and inclusively
  • Prepare telescope personnel to mentor effectively and inclusively
  • Empower ISEE alumni to be leaders and change agents towards making astronomy more inclusive
  • Implement and support activities that strengthen national chapter sites and expand ISEE’s impact nationally

The emphasis on inclusive leadership, teaching, and mentoring is based on the understanding that excellence in any field cannot be fully realized while barriers to equitable participation persist. This project will further numerous necessary advances through intentional development and practice by effective and inclusive leaders.

We will accomplish these outcomes through the following mutually reinforcing project components:

  • Professional Development Program: Through this project, ISEE will support participants from Chapter sites across the U.S., significantly expanding ISEE’s reach in astronomy. This project will also focus on increasing the PDP’s sustainability by adjusting the format of the program to make it more cost effective and less travel intensive.

  • Developing programs at national chapter sites: To expand the reach of ISEE to the national astronomy community, and enable our alumni to serve as leaders at their home organizations, we have developed a growth model that includes interwoven elements based in institutional change research and theory, as well as our own experience piloting and revising over the last few years. Our model will integrate our alumni who have advanced in their careers and will include centralized support from ISEE headquarters with Chapter Liaisons who serve as leaders at their home institutions. A key part of chapter success has been establishing teaching venues for PDP participants’ practical teaching experience, which will be a focal point of new chapter development efforts.

  • Inclusive Leadership Institute: We will develop a new set of workshops to train current PDP team leaders and alumni in inclusive leadership strategies. The new Leadership Institute, along with online supports we will develop through this project, will have multiple goals, including: 1) preparing PDP team leaders to effectively and inclusively lead their teams; 2) convening Chapter Liaisons and other ISEE alumni from across the U.S. to work on leveraging ISEE experience and PDP teams to lead programs aimed at chapter-specific goals; and 3) imparting strategies for leading initiatives at individual institutions and within larger collaborations or organizations.

  • Mentor Workshop: ISEE has developed a unique workshop on mentoring students engaged in projects (e.g. summer research projects, REUs, etc.). The workshop translates strategies used by ISEE instructors in the Akamai Internship Program to strategies that can be used directly by mentors. The workshop also draws from many years of experience with professional development and curriculum design from the PDP, and is still evolving and being refined by the ISEE team. As part of this project, we will offer the Mentor Workshop to ~25 mentors in Year 1 in Hawai‘i, where we have well-established relationships with the Maunakea observatories and community members.

Participants in this project

University of California (UC) San Diego, UCLA, UCSC, University of Texas-Austin, University of Houston, College of Staten Island, Michigan State University, University of Colorado-Boulder, Carnegie Observatories, Texas A&M, University of Hawaii, Columbia University, University of South Carolina, W. M. Keck Observatory, Gemini Observatory, Subaru Telescope, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, Maria Mitchell Association, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Thirty Meter Telescope, Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, Air Force Research Laboratory. New participants will also be added during the 3-year project.

Funding: National Science Foundation (NSF) Astronomical Science and Technology (AST#1743117)