Arctic LTER Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement and Action Plan

Arctic LTER Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan for 2022

This document is an action plan for 2022, building on the proposed items in our Arctic LTER DEI Statement and Action Plan adopted in May 2021. Annual documents will be disseminated to propose action items to begin March 1st each year, coinciding with the anniversary date of the grant. Please refer to the 2021 Statement and Action Plan for background information and the broader list of goals and specific proposed actions.

Accomplishments in 2021

Goal 1: Ensure that the Arctic LTER research community is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful of our differences.

  • ARC DEI committee met monthly throughout the academic year.
  • Laura Gough and Sarah Messenger serve on the LTER Network’s DEI Committee, meeting monthly with reps from other sites to learn from each other. They also serve on the Field Safety Working Group.
  • Gough made a presentation at the ARC LTER 2021 winter meeting highlighting the proposed plan.
  • ARC DEI Statement and Action Plan drafted by committee, input was received from the broader ARC community, and the document was approved in May 2021.
  • An “Introduction to Toolik” document was developed and distributed by Sarah Messenger, member of the DEI committee, to all new project members in spring 2021.
  • Two DEI committee members (Sarah Messenger and Jason Dobkowski) hosted a “junior scientist” happy hour during the annual ARC LTER winter meeting to welcome new junior project members.
  • Messenger and Dobkowski hosted a Zoom meeting in May for all project members deploying to the field in 2021 to answer remaining questions and help orient new members.
  • ARC DEI committee members worked with Megan Wilcots (Ph.D. student at University of Minnesota) and Toolik Field Station (TFS) staff to organize a group discussion in camp during the summer field season about status and future of DEI efforts at TFS. Many ARC LTER members in camp contributed.
  • We promoted the September all LTER network virtual orientation to new members of the ARC community to familiarize them with the LTER network.

Goal 2: Retain, recruit, and support a more diverse Arctic LTER community at all levels.

  • Working with TFS, we posted job ads to the TFS job board for dissemination by their staff to multiple groups including minority-serving institutions.
  • Connected the ARC DEI Committee with the AK Unite project to help reach Alaska Native undergraduates about opportunities for work at TFS.
  • During our monthly ARC DEI committee meetings, we have supported TFS activities such as creating a community climate survey that would be sent to all residents following their stay.
  • In 2021, two science community liaisons were available all season at TFS, one man and one woman, to provide options for personnel to discuss arising issues.
  • Members of the ARC DEI committee participated in the Toolik Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences (URGE) pod activities to enhance committee work.
  • Gough, Messenger, and Dobkowski participated in the AK DatuM workshop (https://akdatum.community.uaf.edu/) to create educational modules for undergraduate research for students and faculty who cannot travel to Alaska.

Goal 3: Collaborating with TFS, engage with the Alaska Native community on the North Slope in communities such as Anaktuvuk Pass, Wiseman, and Prudhoe Bay.

  • Continue to collaborate with TFS via DEI committee member Haley Dunleavy to develop and promote resources to educate TFS users regarding Alaska Native communities, culture and ways of knowing.
  • Working with Dunleavy, ARC LTER researchers plan how to publicize their activities in Alaska communities via news articles and community newsletters to hopefully begin making connections that can result in collaborations in the future.

Goals for 2022

This year is the final year of the current ARC LTER grant. Because the grant has moved to Columbia University and a new PI team will run the project beginning in March 2023, some items will need to wait until the new team is in place. These may include developing a principles of community document for the Arctic LTER and putting together an advisory board for the Executive Committee.

During the winter 2022 ARC planning meeting, an anonymous survey was made available for any comments regarding the DEI plan or other DEI issues. In addition, two DEI “office hours” were held by the ARC DEI committee for small group discussion of these topics. Gough also gave a presentation to the entire ARC LTER group to inform them of our plans for 2022.

During summer 2022, a collective gear inventory will be made of extra LTER field gear at TFS. Working with TFS staff, a “gear closet” will be expanded so that TFS users have access to gear they may have forgotten.

During summer 2022, DEI Committee members will coordinate recording of short videos at TFS to create a video library depicting life at the station. Dunleavy has already created a shared folder and Slack channel in the Toolik Slack workspace for this purpose.

In fall 2022, the DEI committee will work on creating a resource webpage in conjunction with TFS to provide resources to project PIs regarding best practices in recruiting and retaining students and collaborators from typically under-represented groups as well as suggested briefing topics to use when orienting new personnel to conducting research with the Arctic LTER.

We continue to actively collaborate with TFS by working with DEI committee members Donie Bret-Harte and Dunleavy, providing additional perspective on TFS proposed DEI activities as well as ensuring that we are leveraging work between the groups.