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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable 8 Reports from the Breakout Sessions Following the presentation described in Chapters 5-7, breakout sessions were organized to enable more extensive discussions among the workshop participants. The following questions and statements were suggested to the breakout groups as possible topics for discussion: Consider the previous talks regarding successful diversity models and discuss which models can likely be replicated. Discuss potential problems that may be encountered in trying to replicate a given model. Rapporteurs from the breakout groups then reported in plenary session what they believed to be important ideas and topics that had emerged during the discussions. Rigoberto Hernandez, Georgia Institute of Technology: As in our earlier breakout session, our group discussion centered around a series of key questions and our attempts to answer them. One of the key questions discussed within our group is, When should we identify future chemists? I want to restate this question as, Who is failing our potential chemists? Is it at the K-12 level where our future chemists are failing to emerge? Is this the reason why we are not getting the African Americans, the Latino Americans or women in science? Is it in college? Is it that we are not producing them with the requisite qualifications at the end of four years? Is it that once they arrive in our graduate schools, a sink-or-swim attitude prevails in these institutions and because of this, graduate students are not entering the chemical workforce? Yes is not the answer to any of the questions I have just posed. In fact, I am going to claim that the answer is us. We are failing them. Where are we failing them? We are failing them in general chemistry. What we need to do is excite the students coming into their freshman year of college about general chemistry. We see all of them, either in our universities, colleges, or community colleges taking general chemistry. The numbers are large in the beginning, and it is not too late. If we could maintain their excitement by the end of general chemistry, the students would want to do science, and the numbers would prove it. Even if they do not
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable pursue courses beyond general chemistry, many of them will go into public policy professions. So it behooves us to convince them that chemistry is good. Another key question is, What exactly is the problem? The problem is the dearth of diversity in the workforce. One example is the fact that only 18 African Americans and only 22 Latinos are currently employed in chemistry faculty positions by the top 50 institutions as ranked in a recent National Science Foundation (NSF) study. The top 50 institutions have been defined as those receiving the most governmental or private research funds available to academia. It does not mean that these are the best institutions; it just means that they are getting the most funds. The net effect of these statistics is that we are averaging less than one African American or Latino per each one of these institutions. Thus the numbers are small. One might believe that this is a problem only in academia. But it is more general than this as illustrated by the following example. The Dow Chemical Company has only three Latinos out of 150 employees in their R&D department. This low number (and ratio!) is not good and it is not Dow’s fault. Dow is a great company. They are forward thinking. They have at least three representatives at this meeting today, and they do want to recruit Latino Americans and African Americans. But yet, they are not getting them because they are not coming through the pipeline. The consensus within our group is consequently that the problem is the result of the low numbers of students entering the chemical field. And the numbers are low for many reasons. One possible reason for the lack of more success stories within academia is the low probability of success regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. Let us look at the numbers and make a rough estimate. There exist about 1,600 faculty members in the top 50 institutions. Approximately 1,600 students are being produced with Ph.D.s in chemistry each year. So, assuming that no other factors contribute and that the average turnover of a faculty member is about 20 years, then the chances of obtaining a faculty position are about 1 in 20. This is a very conservative estimate because many chemistry faculty in this country earned foreign doctoral degrees, and the average turnover rate is probably longer than 20 years. Regardless, whether it is 1 in 20 or 1 in 100, the odds of becoming a faculty member are still low. Given these odds and the fact that we are producing only about 20-50 African American Ph.D.s per year, it is no small wonder that we have so few in the academic ranks. Moreover, the students entering the pipeline also see this calculus and use it to assess whether or not to pursue this unlikely path in favor of other more financially remunerative nonchemical professions. Another key questions is, Who is going to provide the solutions? Among the possible answers are Professional societies. The American Chemical Society (ACS) has been doing a number of things to identify the problem and take action. Funding agencies. Funding agencies could consider requiring principal investigators to deliver on the promises of diversity, with severe repercussions for failure. Perhaps this would cause principal investigators to take this issue more seriously and consequently effect change at a grass-roots level. Universities. Chemistry departments and upper administration could also use a yardstick-measuring impact on diversity in judging their faculty with respect to case of retention, promotion, and tenure on this basis. In other words, at the end of the year, salary raises would be impacted by what you have done or not done with respect to diversity. But in fact, most promotions, tenure, and salary decisions at the top 50 institutions or any research department are judged almost exclusively on how much you have done in terms of research. How much teaching you have done and service you have provided is judged with a small t and small s, respectively. And the issue of diversity is but a small component within that small s. But if we really believe that diversity is important, then this small fraction will need to be given a higher priority.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable Another key question that we found to have been central within the talks of this session is, What are the key elements for replicating success stories? In no certain order, below is a list of elements that we believe play a role: A critical mass entering the pipeline. If you have enough students entering your program, then you have a chance at producing them at the end. This is why I emphasized general chemistry above. That is, the supply of able students entering the pipeline is greatest in general chemistry. The graduate level is perhaps different because the number of graduating seniors who are members of minority groups is very disproportionate as compared with the general population. Nonetheless, it is clear that if you are able to recruit these students in large numbers as Louisiana State University (LSU) has done, and you create the right program for them as LSU has also done, then you are able to obtain remarkable success. The experience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in which they have created both a critical mass entering and exiting the pipeline at the undergraduate level, is consequently grounds for hope that we can achieve the necessary numbers. Unfortunately, this kind of success is not being achieved at many other schools. In Georgia’s premier public colleges—University of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology—we have a few success stories in chemistry, but not 20, and certainly not 100. Assessment and/or evaluation criteria. This criteria should be applied uniformly. Otherwise one has to worry about whether students feel that they are being treated differently, and this may lead to counterproductive results. In addition, nonuniform standards may lead to legal vulnerabilities that may ultimately shut down the program. One possible criteria that emerged is the measurement of a student’s passion, or stick-to-it-iveness. Maybe their GRE scores are not as strong, or maybe their science background is not as strong because they did not get the opportunity to take the right courses in college, but they still have a passion for science. If you just give them the chance, they will do well. Maybe they will not just do well. They might excel because they are going to be determined and they are going to succeed despite whatever adversity they see in their first year or two. The obvious problem, though, is how to measure a student’s passion, and this is the question that we all need to devote some effort to solve. Buy-in. Buy-in needs to come from the general faculty, the administration, AND the student body. If the students do not feel that they can succeed, then whatever plans you put into place are not going to work. So it is imperative to convince students that they are part of the solution. It is this buy-in that seems to have led UMBC to great success. They have clearly shown that if you get buy-in from students and their social network, then all sorts of positive outcomes readily follow. Mentoring. Sometimes these students are not receiving optimal advice from their social network. They do not know what they should do simply because they have not been advised. If only we were to advise them properly, they would then be able to make informed and hopefully positive decisions. Again, that mentoring does not have to be coddling. Mentoring can be challenging—as in tough love. The idea is that you tell them that they can do it but you set that bar high, thereby letting them achieve something more than they would have done without the challenge. To implement a program that can replicate the success stories, you need leadership. One metaphor that many of us have used to describe the necessity of leadership is that you need a champion. That is, a champion within an institution that pushes the rest of us along. But the key question is, do you need a champion from the top down or the bottom up? Several of the members of our group said, “I have been trying to push this for the past 20 years, beating at the door, and haven’t gotten very far. But I am in the trenches and no one at the top is helping
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable me.” This person could be a wonderful champion, but if she or he does not have the support from the top, then their effectiveness at promoting diversity is diminished. There is a lot of pressure on the 18 African Americans and 22 Latino Americans in the pool or cadre of top 50 institutions to go bottom up. Maybe some of the members of this group of 18 and 22 have to wait until they are at the top so they can truly affect policy decisions. They can still be cognizant of diversity, and they can still do all the right things to help students along. But the real impact is going to come when you have someone from the top such as Freeman Hrabowski, who pushes it down and says, “This is where we want to go, and this is how I am going to support you.” That is, we need champions (and role models) at the bottom, but we really need champions at the top. Finally, we need to take risks. You have to gamble on some people because if you do not you are never going to know if they are capable of being successful. It is a chicken and egg problem. If Freeman Hrabowski had never been president, he would not have had the chance to demonstrate his abilities as a leader. Someone had to be the first to give him the opportunity to be president, and look what he has done. The last question that emerges is consequently, Who is going to take that risk, and who is going to pay for that risk? Quite often, the ones that have to take the risk and pay for it are the cadre of 18 and 22. Although that cadre of 18 and 22 wants to take the risk, it is a big price to pay. It should be society’s price to pay. It should not be me with my little NSF grant having to take a risk on a Latino American or African American student or a female. The student may or may not have a different chance of success than any other, but if the student proves unsuccessful and it results in the nonrenewal of my grant, not only have I lost the student, but also you have now lost me. NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), governmental agencies: Those are the ones that have to take that risk on a promising but risky candidate. I will accept my own risk in a project, but the question is whether I or anyone else should also absorb the risk in such a student. If the student does not have the background at the start of the program, but has that passion, should we risk our NSF or NIH grant on him or her? At this meeting, we have heard that in some such cases, NIH will give you extra money for taking that risk. More agencies have to give such investment serious thought. This is not a recommendation, but we are arguing that it should not be those of us at the trenches that have to take all the risks. Krishna L. Foster, California State University, Los Angeles: Our group discussed the success of expanding diversity in the chemical workforce. I would like to break it down into three categories: 1. Students How do we keep students interested in the chemical sciences? At what level do we intervene? What attributes are presented that get the students excited about pursuing science careers? Where do we need to improve our student recruitment and retention? From our discussion group, it seems that, even before high school general chemistry, there is a lot we can do. It does not necessarily have to be large scale. For instance, one-on-one communication can help. Mentorship programs in the form of tutorials with undergraduates working together with high school students can actually build confidence in the undergraduate student simply because they have something of value to share with the younger high school student. This also gives the high school student an opportunity to see that there is a life in science that is rewarding and enjoyable. It exposes them early to science as a career that they might like to pursue. An idea that came up in our discussion was that faculty from colleges and universities could collaborate with high school teachers to identify students with above-average GPAs or SATs who have shown an interest in the sciences. This actually starts the pipeline because it is not always easy to
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable determine which student will be successful in the sciences. Establishing early links can help us identify students to build into the pipeline. Our group was also concerned about risk and recruitment. Lawsuits are a real risk and we need to start thinking about new ideas to expand what we mean by diversity. Perhaps ideas like identifying first-generation college students, identifying local zip codes, or family income could be a means to make sure that the underrepresented population is inclusive as we try to diversify. And finally, while we are busy concentrating on the Ph.D. success, we cannot ignore those people who do not pursue the Ph.D., but receive master’s or bachelor’s degrees and do have a positive impact on the chemical workforce because of their passion for science. 2. Faculty What do we do about new hires? How do we decide if we are serious about recruitment and retention? What do we do to join as junior faculty? If we are serious about diversity, then we have to think about the hiring criteria by asking what we expect this person to do to diversify that goes beyond the standard requirements of teaching a course. Counting publications and pedigree is probably not enough. To promote diversity, the new hire should have time in his or her schedule to pursue that diversity ambition by granting release time. One institution mentioned in our group had special funds that were used to hire underrepresented people throughout the entire campus. These funds allowed them to offer a job to a new hire whenever the opportunity presented itself. It has worked well for them. 3. Champions Senior faculty and administrators. Funding agencies. Spearheading the effort. We want to find some way to institutionalize, develop, and compensate champions for their effort. It should not be just one person who decides to be the sacrificial lamb. There should be time, salary, and a real commitment made by the institution for allowing faculty to diversify. We need to find a way to take more of these people with this passion on campuses across the United States to teach our senior faculty how to be the diversity spearheads. People are out there but they lack the support they need to get the job done right. To do that, we need an institution to buy in. The institution needs to take responsibility. It cannot just be one person. One person can spin his or her wheels for 20 years, but you need to have a group of faculty working together and support from the central administration. So this has to be a group effort. You can do this by having discussions in the department, in the college, in the university, talking about how diversity fits into the core values of the institution. Not just making diversity a charity effort, but more like what has been presented in this workshop: Diversity is good for the community, and we need to get that message out there to see how it fits into institutional values. Iona Black, Yale University: Our group was to attack the problem by asking two questions. From the two programs that were presented, which can be replicated, and then what is necessary to replicate it? There are four things that seem to be essential. The first is leadership—someone who wants to take charge. The second is team support, people who are willing to make that change. Third, is the need to go out and attract people. You cannot sit back and
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable be passive. Fourth, is the need to retain them by doing a personalized infrastructure, such as mentors. Having one or two of these four things will not work, you need a synergy of all four. What is it that UMBC seems to have done? They have gone to faculty members who have some money and a name and tried to work with them until a grant can be achieved. The seed money needs to come from the top down. So along the lines of money, the next question that arose in our group was, for undergraduate education, which is more important: to have faculty who have significant research money, competitive money, and are producing peer-reviewed articles, or to have block grants for the institutional environment for the educational base? Well, I think it depends on what the institution is. For the larger institutions, handling undergraduates is not a problem, because they are just added onto the existing class for the graduate students or postdocs or whatever. But for the historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the block grant seems to be important, because then people can have money to engage in research and build up the faculty, and they can be on a competitive basis. It was also noted in our group that 40 to 50 percent of the African Americans who are in the majority institutions for Ph.D.s come from the HBCUs. So when we look at the LSU program, one concern was whether that pool would continue to exist or be exhausted. Hampton University, for example, has a one-sided success story. The students are coming in and they are graduating. But if you look with regard to chemistry, then there is some real work that needs to be done. So we need some workable models for other types of institutions, models for institutions that can be feeders outside of the HBCUs. Funding is needed. UMBC is useful because it gives us a projection of what the outcome can be. What is it that is reproducible from the UMBC model? One thing is the expectation for excellence. That can be adopted everywhere. They take tutoring to get high As; it is not viewed as just being able to pass. It reinforces this expectation. Can a program be successful without financial support? UMBC had financial support from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, NIH, and a variety of other sources in addition to the institution. The answer was viewed as a qualitative yes. There were some examples of some institutions that are operating without the money, such as Fiske, but the money would be helpful. There is another route that the majority institutions could take, which is to have the faculty work with those that are in student services. The collaboration between student services and the faculty could bring together this type of change in the major institutions. What can be done to increase the numbers in chemistry? The rate of success of graduates overall in an institution is high. But for chemistry, that is not the case. Is chemistry different regarding the retention of students? The answer is yes, because chemistry is a gatekeeper kind of course. So, as we have heard from the two previous groups, some of the chemistry courses mentioned might be worth a try. Maybe the structure or the amount of material that is covered could be changed, or maybe the curriculum could take the biology approach, by examining case studies, or maybe you could make the program writing intensive. There were some examples of places that incorporated all of these types of things. Chemistry seems to have been flat with regard to growth in Ph.D.s, whereas growth in the biological sciences, including biology and psychology, seems to have grown exponentially. Does chemistry have any growth? Yes, growth is at the intersections with other disciplines, such as biology, or engineering, or modeling, but do we know the pool of people that we are going to be dealing with? The American Institute of Physics is putting out a statistical-based data format that is going to be very useful and have high visibility. A possibility is to do the same type of thing with the data that are collected by the ACS.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable Forty percent of the listed graduates of the ACS obtain their B.A.s from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions, but they finish their Ph.D.s at major institutions. In summary, have we come full circle with 50 percent attrition in chemistry? Is this due to curriculum or the way that it is taught, or is it due to the way that we progressively retain science majors? A synopsis is that the answer to the second question is yes. That is the true strength of the Meyerhoff program. Can the Meyerhoff program be reproduced? Yes, it can be reproduced in the following areas: You have expectation of excellence and with the four essential themes. You have to have some type of leadership, someone who wants the change. You have to have the team support, the faculty who are willing to do the change. You cannot be passive, you must go out and aggressively attract people to you. You must personalize the infrastructure to aid in the retention of these students. The synergy of all these things is what we concluded would be necessary. DISCUSSION Isiah M. Warner, Louisiana State University: Did any group talk at all about the problem of setting aside funds? Minority faculty enter the system with enough stigma associated with them already. To set aside funds suggests that they came in under different criteria than normal faculty, and it presents a problem, particularly at a majority institution. I am against this personally. Unless the entire faculty buy in to the premise that these persons are being hired and accepted as regular faculty, I do not think that any additional stigma needs to be associated with their employment. Krishna L. Foster: We did not discuss that at all. Rigoberto Hernandez, Georgia Institute of Technology: I would hope that whenever one hires a faculty member, then one hires them for all the right reasons. However, once you have made such a decision, it is fair game to secure funds earmarked for minorities, even if it is for all the “wrong reasons,” as long as it is found money that you would not have had otherwise. So if you get another $100,000 or $200,000 for that hire that he or she would not have otherwise received, great. But if you use those funds to replace money that he or she was going to get anyway, then you are not being fair to that hire. Isiah M. Warner: But think about it this way. You are a new assistant professor coming in and somebody is telling you that you were hired only because of some special criterion. That can have a psychological effect. William M. Jackson, University of California, Davis: I would disagree with Isiah Warner. The recommendations you made for hiring faculty, putting money aside for opportunities to hire minority faculty was something the University of California was doing very successfully. These people still had to be qualified to be on the faculty of the university, but it gave the department fewer excuses for not hiring qualified minority faculty. Judging the quality of faculty is always a difficult value judgment.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable There is even recognition of this in the university by making faculty prove themselves before granting them tenure. We had to stop using diversity as one of the factors used to evaluate potential candidates for faculty position because the University of California Regents passed an edict preventing us from doing it. Later there was a voter initiative that also prevented us from considering race in the appointment. In fact, I was hired at the University of California on this set-aside money. We need to do a job on our own students to strengthen their egos such that they do not allow themselves to be stigmatized. I grew up in Alabama at a time when society stigmatized us all solely by the color of our skin. When you walked out of the classroom into any place other than your segregated classroom, you knew that they knew you were black and assumed that you were inferior. Therefore, you knew there to be successful if you were black, you had to be twice as good and work twice as hard, as Freeman Hrabowski said. Now, the first thing that we have to do for all minority students is to get them to understand that no matter what is said in society, they still have to have better qualifications than nonminorities. They cannot expect it to be fair. It is never going to be fair. As long as people can distinguish you and make judgments ahead of time before they even know you, there is no possibility of being treated fairly. Eventually we hope that this changes, but it has not happened yet. There is a history at Morehouse College where I attended that Morehouse men were extremely confident in their ability to compete in society. This was drilled into them deliberately by President Mays to counteract the negative images African Americans received from the larger society. We have lost this feeling in the African American community that we have to be better and work harder. I am not saying that we have to blame ourselves as victims. I am not talking about that. But we have to continue to know that success in this is not going to be an easy road. We are going to have to work hard at it. I understand the problem of the stigmas, but overcoming that is going to have to come from within. We must always remember that if you ever let anybody else define you, you have already lost the game. Gregory Robinson, University of Georgia: I think there is a middle ground. We have had this debate on our campus and some other venues. What seems to work is a pool of money to allow a department that is hiring adjunct faculty to combine those adjunct faculty into a single new faculty position. Then add enough money to make it a permanent tenure track position, or to allow a department to borrow money against the pool for future retirement. Those are things that work and address your problems as well. Sharon L. Neal, University of Delaware: The University of Delaware is not my first institution. I was at the University of California, Riverside. I wanted to say that, even though I think William Jackson’s point is well taken, it is something that we need to be concerned about, that a new faculty member who is perceived as being hired under a set-aside is a target for special retribution from faculty who are entrenched and who do not like the idea of their faculty quality being undermined. D. Ronald Webb, Procter & Gamble: This is not a question, but a comment. I am hearing a lot of discussion on what could be done to address particular issues. But, from a business standpoint, focusing on the work, before nailing down the reason for the work, may not be efficient or even yield the desired effect. I would like to suggest that somewhere, somebody has to sit down and prioritize what issues you want to address. I submit that you cannot fix everything right away, but prioritizing the issue is essential. Once that is done, you then need to figure out what you need to do to solve the problem.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable There is a work model we use in industry that helps us tackle big problems and get to the endpoint quickly, and I want to share it with you. It is called OGSM, and it stands for objectives, goals, strategies, and measures. This model allows us to take a big problem, break it down into smaller pieces, identify the work that needs to be done, and measure our outcome over time. For example, let us say that you are at a university and you are now unhappy with the representation of minorities on your faculty. Based on this sample problem, one could develop an OGSM by first defining an objective such as having the highest representation of minorities on the faculty relative to other departments in your academic conference. Thus, appropriate goals for meeting this objective could be hiring two African Americans or Hispanics in the next year and ultimately having a 10 percent minority representation within ten years. To define strategy, one has to identify the work that needs to be done to accomplish the specified goals. Finally, having set the strategies, measures are then defined that allow the work to be measured over time. If the measures track with the goals then you will know that you are on the right track and the strategy should continue. If not, you need to redefine the strategies accordingly. My main point here is that the work is not defined until the objective and goals are first established, versus the discussions in this meeting that have focused on things that could be done without determining what needs to be done. With the OGSM model you can take any problem and make it much more focused, much more actionable, and much more solvable, but first you have to sort the many issues down to the few. James D. Burke, Rohm & Haas: Earlier, somebody raised the point about promoting chemistry or selling chemistry as their career, particularly in the first year of college. I want to give you an example of that happening. Some of you may know David Thompson, a faculty member at the College of William and Mary. When he became chairman of that department a number of years ago, he noted that only 15, 16, or 17 chemistry majors were graduated every year. It was a disappointment, because things had not been that way. As chair, Dr. Thompson appointed himself the lecturer for freshman chemistry and decided to not just teach it, but to motivate the students about why chemistry was so much fun, interesting, and valuable. He converted a lot of premeds and biology students to studying chemistry so that, three years later, they had 55 students completing a B.S. degree in chemistry. His dean challenged him and said, “Dave, you are soft-balling this course. You are making it easy, you are attracting students who are below average because they need a home, too.” His instinctive response was to get annoyed, but Professor Thompson thought of something better: He got the data. He went back and looked at the admissions folders for all these students and discovered that, in reality, their average SATs were 50 points higher than the norm for the college. In fact, he was not recruiting the less able students at all, but instead the better ones. The department was able to sustain that high level of majors, simply because Professor Thompson had stood up and talked about chemistry as a way of life, as a career, rather than something one takes as a freshman. So I offer that as an effective example of promoting chemistry as a major. Billy Joe Evans, University of Michigan: I think that many issues impact what we do in chemistry, but to a considerable extent, I think that we in chemistry can override and overcome some of those broad issues and be successful, without having to consider factors outside of our control.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable My analysis is that we have to admit that we have not succeeded in making a career in the chemical sciences broadly available to the American public. It is conceivable that even if we were to replicate the model programs presented here, there would be no significant gain overall in the number of minorities and women taking on careers in chemistry at all levels. The great difficulty and the great promise are in serving the economically and socially disadvantaged sectors of our population. The models presented here only hint at what can be done in this connection. True, chemistry is a beginning, and I agree that is a beginning. There is no need to go back to grade 2 and 3 to make a difference. But in terms of the model presented, I think that is something we can do and measure our success readily. I also think that we fail to use those paradigms and activities that are unique to chemistry. Again, I think that is something that is in our control. A word of caution. In our commitment to bring about change, it is essential that we continue to be the scientists that we are. It is critical for us to take the time to fully develop those concepts that are believed to be essential to generating the outcomes that we need. Important in this connection is the notion of critical mass. I do not believe we understand fully what is meant there. There is the term passion. I do not believe we have fully explored that. Then there are the two terms that we have heard interchangeably: nurturing and mentoring. In the example of nurturing and mentoring, I would claim that if you have one of those, you do not need the other. We need to be careful about that, because the words that we use turn people on and off to the kinds of things that we would like to change. Further, I would argue that even if diversity does not continue to be a value, I think we can all agree that the quality and level of participation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and women in the chemical sciences are unsatisfactory. We can work to bring about those changes without being bogged down in all of the difficulties and complications that go along with a term like diversity, which also has a nebulous meaning. I would argue that we hard-nosed chemists who can wipe the dream of a young child out with the strike of a pencil ought to be just as hard-nosed about those things that we know to be valid and adequate and to just say, we are dealing with African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and women. We do not have to carry this diversity baggage with us. I am speaking to the point made by D. Ronald Webb, who is trained in these kinds of things: Let us be clear about what it is we are trying to change, and then move on. If we are using nebulous language, then there is no way that we can be clear about the kinds of things we would like to bring about. Gregory Robinson, University of Georgia: You raise an interesting point about the nurture and mentor. Do you have a feeling which one of those is more important, or are they equally important? Billy Joe Evans: If you mentor someone, the nurturing will always be appropriate for the person and the situation. If you nurture someone, that may be inappropriate for the person and the situation. It is quite clear that the term we want is mentoring. I think in terms of the operational definitions that members of the audience have given, that is really what they were saying. I think it is mentoring. We should go with that. It is clear what we mean. There is no issue about appropriateness. For nurturing, there are people who play hardball, and there are kids who can survive in that setting. So let us not raise that this issue of stigma—let us not say that with minorities, you have to be this and you have to be that. We have to be this and we have to be that with everybody, but we need to find out who everybody is before we start being this and being that. So I think mentoring is the superior term.
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable Michael P. Doyle, Research Corporation: Mentoring is the correct format for some of the things we are looking to do. Billy Joe Evans has defined mentoring, and his definition says what I think has been a profoundly important and effective way of bringing students into the chemical workforce and giving them the attention needed for undertaking careers in chemical sciences. That has been studied at the undergraduate level. I think if there is one way that we could look to enhance, develop, and nurture students to a greater extent to draw people into the chemical sciences, it would be mentoring. But there is another way. It is very important, because it has come out of three of the group sessions and in the presentations. There is a problem in the way we introduce students in their college and university careers to the chemical sciences. I learned a long time ago that the English departments in our colleges and universities had a much closer attachment to students because, first of all, they restricted the size of their classrooms to 20-30 students; they said that they could not effectively teach any more than that. We have not been so smart about that. The second thing is that they offered a diversity of entry courses for their subject matter. In other words, their selections were unlimited by offering courses in literature of the 17th century, science fiction, novels, and mysteries. But what do we do for general chemistry? We offer no variety in chemistry. Every college and university does the same thing. And in the end, students are not attracted to chemistry. They are turned off. Students learn in different ways. Perhaps an introduction to chemistry as it relates to nutrition, or an introduction to chemistry as it relates to the environment would help. Still some would like to hear basic philosophical chemistry that we usually teach. But let us recognize that there is diversity in chemistry. Fortunately, the ACS Committee of Professional Training does not impose a general chemistry format. It says you have to have a background in chemistry. It is our own individual institutions that have the control to impose a specific format. I found it very interesting; for four years at the University of Arizona I attempted to change the curriculum a little bit, to contract general chemistry, because most of the students were coming in sufficiently prepared to do general chemistry. They can do it as a review course in a semester. I wanted to start organic chemistry as a second course and present it in the second semester. I think we are ready for a lot of interaction. We are going to do it, by the way. We are going to do this. Robert L. Lichter, The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation: It is extraordinarily hard to follow Dr. Evans. It is immeasurably hard to follow both Dr. Evans and Dr. Doyle, so I am not going to try. Incidentally, if you have never seen or heard Dr. Evans talk about mentoring, you should, because it is like Dr. Hrabowski’s talk last night: It is a real treat. I wanted to elaborate on a couple of points. One of the rapporteurs commented about focusing on what we can do at the college level and beyond, and not worry too much about what happens before then. I am sure the implication was not that we do not have to worry at all, but rather, to focus on what we think we can actually do. We can indeed do something at the college level that does affect that arena below it: teacher preparation. Departments of chemistry have both the obligation and the opportunity to affect in a highly material way the quality and the numbers of the people who become the teachers of those students whom we want to bring into our classes. That is our responsibility, which of course, many institutions are recognizing. This is not a new subject, but I just wanted to get it on the table. The other point deals with the notion of undergraduates doing research, with which I profoundly agree. If the students are going to do research, there have to be faculty who are doing research. I want to
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable remind you, who all share a commitment to diversity, that first and foremost you are all scientists and are there to advance and teach the science, or to promote its advancement and teaching. If you let that go, nothing else of substance will happen. Fundamentally, you have to maintain your roles as scientists who do and teach science. The other things will follow from that. Isai T. Urasa, Hampton University: I just want to underscore what Robert Lichter just said about the quality chemistry curriculum that has been implemented at the undergraduate institutions. Even before we can draw up success stories, there are a lot of stories out there that are ongoing, both in the instructional process as well as in undergraduate research that we have identified as being very important. I think it is critically important that we have good knowledge of what is going on and who are we dealing with at the undergraduate level. If it does not work there, chances are it probably would not work at LSU or any other place. Perhaps another session should be organized sometime in the not too distant future that would include predominate undergraduate institutions, for I believe there are a lot more stories to be told out there. Barbara A. Burke, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: I was thinking of more of a practical type of suggestion, which has to do with textbooks. If you page through general chemistry textbook, whose pictures do you see? You certainly do not see Percy Julian, you do not see Gertrude B. Elle, and you do not see Marie Maynard Dailey or other people like them. I think that is a challenge for those of us who write general chemistry textbooks, to try to infuse diversity into the textbook. I wish there were textbook publishers here who would be able to hear this as a suggestion, to make them more inclusive, which has not been done up to now. I will tell you about my work. I have been collecting a database on women and minority chemists. It is on the Journal of Chemical Education website. The column now has almost 40 women and minority chemists. This includes non-European males. It is, I believe, a valuable piece of work. I use it in my chemistry classes. I have my students write papers on chemists who are not majority-type chemists, and it is very enlightening for them. They go to my website and then they go to other places on the web, or the library, and they find it is difficult to get information on women and minority chemists. So I think we can do more. Cornelia D. Gillyard, Spelman College: What I have to say may be a bit provocative, but I feel strongly about teaching assignments in first-year chemistry courses. We should give careful consideration to how we place faculty in teaching assignments in freshman chemistry classes. It is my perception (based upon common practices at institutions) that a new hire (junior faculty), with little experience, is typically assigned to teach the lower-level courses populated by students struggling to grasp new and challenging concepts. I do not think that this a good policy because junior faculty are preoccupied with adjustment and career issues, such as doing the right things that will enhance tenure and promotion possibilities. Speaking from a personal perspective, I am still growing as a professor but, as a senior faculty person, many of the issues of adjustment and tenure have been alleviated. There are some strengths, including confidence and comfort level with the discipline, that I bring to the classroom that are yet to be cultivated in the more junior faculty who are adjusting to the new area of teaching. When senior faculty—who possess a breadth of experiences and who are not preoccupied with doing the right things so that they can get tenure—engage in motivating and teaching freshmen, a rich reservoir becomes available in capturing the attention and peaking the interest of students in chemistry. Seasoned faculty in
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable the classroom can make a big difference! I offer this comment not as a criticism of junior faculty, but as a point of consideration relative to factors that can affect teaching effectiveness. In our department, I try to give junior faculty a teaching assignment that matches the strengths they can best offer our majors (their fresh ideas, discipline, and research expertise), in a seminar, discussion, or advanced-level class, for example. I think that we need not deprive our junior faculty of the opportunity to teach some of the upper-level courses populated by students who have already progressed to the point at which they can survive the curricular demands.
Representative terms from entire chapter: