Paper No. 153-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
WHO ARE WE? WHAT IDENTITIES DO WE HOLD? HURDLES AND PATHWAYS FOR COLLECTING FACULTY DEMOGRAPHIC DATA IN THE GEOSCIENCES
While the percentage of women receiving PhDs in the Geosciences has increased steadily over the past 20 years, the percentage of PhDs granted to under-represented minority (URM) geoscientists remains significantly below general population trends and largely unchanged. Across STEM, the presence of URM faculty who serve as role models and mentors promotes recruitment and retention of diverse undergraduate and graduate students. Although NSF maintains race and ethnicity data of PhD recipients, little to no publicly accessible racial and ethnic demographic data exist for faculty members in the geosciences, at either the institutional level or nationally. In pursuit of collating this essential data, the NSF-GOLDEN Rewards project began a nationwide demographics data collection project in May 2021. Of the ~1000 post-secondary institutions in the US that include geoscience education (American Geosciences Institute), only 5% responded to our call by July 1st, with 9% of respondents stating that they do not wish to participate. From the preliminary data, community colleges and “minority serving institutions” appear to be overrepresented, submitting data before most other institutions. This low response rate, combined with questions and comments regarding the data collection effort from faculty and administrators, suggests that significant hurdles exist in accessibility of discipline-specific faculty demographic data at the institutional level. We recommend that professional organizations, NSF, and other funding agencies develop data collection and reporting infrastructures that will provide this faculty data at regular intervals, to illuminate and deconstruct barriers in reaching an equitable racial distribution in the geoscience workforce and beyond.