Addressing Sexual Harassment in STEM

The Center for STEM Learning is hosting a faculty development workshop addressing the problem of sexual harassment in the STEM disciplines. The workshop will be run by Dr. Blair Schneider and Dr. Meredith Hastings from the ADVANCEGeo Partnership team.  Dr. Schneider has a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Kansas and is currently the TRESTLE Program Manager for KU Center for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Hastings is an Associate Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown University and an NSF CAREER awardee. They have been working with the Earth Science Women's Network, Association for Women Geoscientists and the American Geophysical Union to develop development workshop sessions that address the problem of sexual harassment in the earth, space and environmental sciences under a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program.

 


 

As stated by NSF director France Cordova in a recent New York Times article, she, “is tired of learning that male scientists whose research she supports with public funds have sexually harassed their female students, staff and colleagues.”  A primary goal of the ADVANCEGeo Partnership team is to improve work climate conditions by developing bystander intervention workshops for department heads, chairs, faculty and graduate students to appropriately respond to and prevent sexual and other types of harassment on campus and in the field. In addition, the work includes awareness and prevention training of harassment in the teaching of ethical conduct in research. This one-day workshop is designed for academic leaders to identify and address sexual and other types of harassment as scientific misconduct and equips individuals and departments with skills to:  

  1. recognize harassment in different research and educational settings and how it is experienced by individuals with different gender, racial and ethnic identities
  2. implement positive, pro-social direct and indirect behaviors to stop harassment (bystander intervention)
  3. produce, implement, and enforce ethical codes of conduct
  4. educate themselves about resources to reduce the harm caused by harassment

The one day workshop will consist of a series of three developmental sessions and will be held on Monday, January 14, 2019 in the Beren Petroleum Center (Slawson Hall, G190). The schedule and sessions are summarized below.

  • 9:00-9:15 Sign in and Coffee
  • 9:15 – 11:15 Session 1
    • Addresses privilege, unconscious bias and micro aggressions.
    • This session will focus on how these topics impact the recruitment and retention in STEM fields, as well as ways individuals can empower themselves to create positive workplace climates.
  • 11:15 – 12:15             Lunch Discussion and Break
  • 12:15 – 3:15               Session 2
    • Addresses harassment in different research and educational settings and teaches faculty and academic leadership how to be active bystanders. 
  • 3:15 – 3:30                Break
  • 3:30 – 5:00               Session 3
    • Addresses the development of a departmental Code of Conduct.
    • The resources in the session identify necessary elements of effective codes of conduct and provides examples and a template for each department to develop their own Code of Conduct.
    • The last part of the session is the writing of a Code to take to their home faculty.

Each department should provide the names of 4 *faculty/staff members who will attend this one-day workshop in addition to the department chair. Please email the names of your departmental representatives to Dr. Schneider at bensonbe@ku.edu no later than EOB on Friday, December 14th. Lunch will be provided to all participants, in addition to snacks and beverages throughout the day.

 

To be clear, a primary goal of the program is to improve work climate conditions by developing bystander intervention workshops for department heads, chairs, and faculty to appropriately respond to and prevent sexual and other types of harassment on campus and in the field. This workshop is not designed to be a rehabilitation for individuals for past offenders. We are seeking a culture change in STEM and individuals who are currently in the midst of, or have had issues with this subject in the past, can have the potential to be disruptive to progress toward this goal.

Finally, some of the case studies and discussion in this workshop can be triggering for participants. There is clear guidance at the beginning of the day concerning a participants need to take a break if needed – which is perfectly fine. There is also clear guidance about civil discourse and productive discussions.  We will have a protocol in place if an individual needs to be asked to leave the discussion.

*Please note that graduate students will be invited to a separate training and should not be included as departmental representatives for this workshop.


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