Center for Diverse Leadership in Science
Our Planet Needs Everyone’s Imagination
Climate disruption, water scarcity, depleted soils, undrinkable water, species extinctions, and the loss of nature take something away from every human on the planet. Inclusive science can help solve these problems. But today’s scientific leadership is ethnically and culturally homogenous. We need to grow and nurture diverse leaders who will solve environmental problems and create pathways to sustainability.
How do we create diverse leadership? Transformation occurs when we start on college campuses, with hands reaching out to communities, K through 12 schools, families, and retired individuals seeking ways to contribute to society.
- Mentor from “K to grey” (all educational levels)
- Provide role models and research opportunities
- Award transformational fellowships to mixed teams of students and researchers
- Support interdisciplinary research applying systems thinking and backwards design
- Deliver leadership and collaborative skills training
- Engage in community outreach
- Explore the biases and limitations of research programs that lack diverse engagement
What We Do
- Develop agents of change
- Foster convergence, innovation, and discovery
- Create and elevate diverse role models
Diverse Leadership Accelerates Innovation and Discovery
Science is not solitary. It is a social endeavor. Diverse and scientifically-informed representation is our best hope for solving problems. But although ethnic minorities will make up half of the U.S. population by 2046, currently 86% of the workforce in environmental science and geoscience is white, with only 3.9% Hispanic, and only 2.7% black. This lack of diversity introduces both bias and intellectual narrowness.
Representation is also critical for identifying where problems exist. While the affluent can buy their way out of environmental hazards, the poorest may be the most vulnerable to climate change, or live near toxic dumps or urban oil wells. Participation of under-served and under-represented communities is key to understanding what problems people are facing and how they can be solved.
Economic opportunity is yet another reason for diverse scientific leadership. Training in science and engineering (or STEM fields) offer tremendous opportunities for under-served communities. STEM fields face a shortage of qualified people to hire, and students who graduate with STEM degrees and research experience have more job opportunities.
The bottom line is that today’s complex environmental problems require diverse teams of scientists for both discovery and implementation. Without such diversity, progress towards a sustainable planet will be halting and perhaps too late.
To help support the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, contact Steve Dunwoody: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media inquiries and interview requests, contact David Colgan, IoES Director of Communications: email@example.com.