Special Seminar: "This Is Not A Diversity Talk" - POSTPONED MAKE UP DATE TBD

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 15:00 - 16:00
John A. Johnson, The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The American discourse on the various disparities present in society generally, and academia specifically, focuses primarily on observations of the state of a given situation---e.g. a lack of diversity---rather than on the actions that lead to such a state. This approach is just as dissatisfying and ultimately ineffectual as observing that certain stars are "bright," rather than describing any of the physical principles that lead to the observed properties of a star. In this talk I'll argue that there exists a longstanding crisis in STEM that can only be addressed through an honest discourse on the historical and present-day actions that have led to the current state of affairs, and that a sustainable solution requires radical change in the culture of STEM. I'll offer a useful framework for discussing the problem and exploring solutions. I'll also share examples of solutions we have implemented in the Harvard Astronomy department, that have drastically reshaped the demographics of a graduate program over a very short time.

David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8