Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM


SUITER, Marilyn J., National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230, BERG, Richard C., Illinois State Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820 and SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404,

In June 2010, The Geological Society of America (GSA) approved (June 2010) a Position Paper on Diversity and established a Task Force to develop a plan for effective implementation, as appropriate. “GSA affirms the value of diverse scientific ideas, and the connection between diverse scientific ideas and a diverse group of contributors of those ideas, including those who comment and criticize.” This step reflects growth in understanding and appreciating the importance of embracing diversity in the workforce and practices of our profession. It is an action that reflects a long organizational history of incremental progress, but progress nonetheless.

GSA has demonstrated its growing appreciation of diversity through numerous efforts, such as programs that recognize diverse individuals who have made significant achievement in geoscience and support to students who are just beginning their careers. Such awareness is important not only because of the role of diversity in establishing a talented workforce, but also because of the importance of diverse scientific ideas, especially as we work to unravel puzzles or solve thorny problems. Our connections to the Earth are part of human nature and therefore are also part of our practice of science. As geoscientists, we focus on local and regional environments and synthesize different ways of knowing them. We leverage that sense of place in our scientific understanding of a given place (Semken and Freeman, 2008). Further, human cultures are sometimes defined by their relationships with the Earth in a specific locale.