By Hannah Messenger, CWRU (B.S. – Physics & B.A. – Music | Dec. 2020)
In 2019, the American Physical Society (APS) launched a broad and innovative effort to address EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) challenges in physics. Funded by the APS Innovation Fund, APS-IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance) aims to build a large community of physics departments, laboratories, and research groups to tackle issues brought up by a number of recent reports including the AIP TEAM-UP Report, the AIP Women in Physics and Astronomy Report, and the APS LGBT Climate in Physics Report. This summer, CWRU joined more than 90 other institutions at the virtual inaugural meeting of the APS-IDEA community. A second virtual meeting was held at the end of September, which featured plenaries discussing culture change, shared leadership and more, as well as breakouts for discussion.
As part of our participation in APS-IDEA, the department formed a Diversity Committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students who meet weekly to discuss challenges and ideas for the department to improve EDI. The team models the value of shared leadership by rotating the committee chair each week and understands that improving EDI in physics will be a long-term effort involving all members of the community. Work to date has focused on understanding the state of EDI in the department, and learning about specific areas to be addressed. We are excited to get started at CWRU, and to be part of the APS-IDEA community.
More info about APS-IDEA can be found at: https://www.aps.org/programs/innovation/fund/idea-physics.cfm#systemic