South-Central Section - 51st Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 28-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


BOSS, Stephen K., Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas, 216 GEAR, Fayetteville, AR 72701,

Among STEM disciplines, minorities are the least well-represented in Earth Sciences and within Earth Sciences, minority representation in geology lags far behind atmospheric sciences and oceanography. Whereas the minority population of the United States is 30-35%, the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reports that approximately 3.5% of geology baccalaureate degrees are earned by persons identified as African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. An additional 4-5% of geology degrees are earned by people of Hispanic heritage. The decades-long persistence of underrepresentation in geology is profound and troubling, indicative of systemic and institutionalized barriers to inclusion of diverse peoples and perspectives. It is time for geosciences and, in particular geology, to engage in self-reflection regarding the low numbers of non-white participants in the discipline. In this process of self-reflection, it is important to understand that it is likely that no one deliberately intends to exclude anyone. However, it is also quite likely that no one deliberately intends to include everyone and this is an important distinction. Inclusion is an active process, not a passive one. Each of us in the discipline must strive to consider inclusivity in all our actions. Inclusion must be a deliberate intention if we expect to broaden participation and attract significant numbers of underrepresented minorities to the study of our planet. This session is intended to provide diverse perspectives on fostering communities of deliberate inclusion in geosciences.