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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan and Recommendations

 

FASEB is one of the largest coalitions of biological and biomedical research societies, representing 29 scientific societies and over 130,000 individual researchers around the world. In September 2018, FASEB established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force charged with developing a strategic vision to guide the Federation’s efforts in fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization and research environment across the biological and biomedical sciences. To determine the key areas of emphasis in the DEI strategic plan, the Task Force utilized several tactics. These included distribution of a survey to collect information regarding existing member society DEI efforts and to ascertain priorities for future collaborations, as well as adoption of a logic model framework to develop goals designed to promote DEI within the Federation and beyond. Through these activities, the DEI Task Force identified three strategic areas aligned with the FASEB Strategic Plan on which to focus:

1. Organizational Excellence

2. Research and Education

3. Public Engagement and Collaboration

For each of these strategic areas, the Task Force developed goals to guide FASEB in its efforts to promote DEI. Broadly, these goals seek to create an inclusive work environment within the Federation, increase diversity within the FASEB staff and volunteer workforce, foster increased collaborations with member societies, enhance inter-society communication and external collaborations, and identify appropriate financial support to sustain the DEI mission. Short- to intermediate-term goals are defined as those that can be achieved within six months to two years; and long-term goals are defined as those that will take more than two years to achieve.

 

Strategic Area I: Organizational Excellence
 

Establishing and maintaining an inclusive environment that upholds the core principles that all individuals are welcomed, valued, and have opportunities to succeed, is essential for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. Therefore, establishing policies and processes to make certain that all individuals embrace the highest level of professionalism, including those serving as Federation leaders, committee members, and staff, is of the highest importance. The Strategic Area of Organizational Excellence focuses on goals to promote professionalism within the workforce, increase diversity of the workforce, and to ensure that FASEB core missions establish policies and processes that will support the principles of DEI within FASEB and across its member societies.


Organizational Excellence: Short- to Intermediate-Term Goals
1. Develop a FASEB organizational statement that delineates guiding principles pertaining to DEI that will be adopted to guide workforce development and training as well as core missions and collaborations with member societies and other external scientific organizations (see Appendix I).

2. Adopt best practices for identifying, hiring, and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds.

3. Create professional development opportunities for FASEB staff and volunteers to foster an inclusive workplace and increase awareness of how individuals from diverse backgrounds contribute to the organizational mission.

4. Identify areas that require approaches/interventions to ensure an inclusive and equitable environment that sustains a diverse community within the Federation.

Organizational Excellence: Long-Term Goals
1. Promote policies and procedures for all FASEB core missions, including Summer Research Conferences, Publications, Sponsored Programs, Public Affairs and Science Policy, and Federation collaborations with member societies that highlight organizational commitment to the principles of DEI.

2. Work with the Leadership Development Committee and FASEB member societies to increase representation of individuals from diverse backgrounds on the FASEB Executive Committee, Board, and Standing/Ordinary Committees.

3. Increase visibility of programs/job openings online.


Strategic Area II: Research and Education
 

Research and Education is a core value within the FASEB strategic plan. The DEI Task Force created a survey that was distributed to the executive officers of the 29 FASEB member societies to gather additional information pertaining to ongoing programs, as well as past collaborations between FASEB and member societies. Survey responses were also used to identify opportunities for highly effective collaborations going forward. Responses revealed that the majority of FASEB member societies currently offer DEI programs geared towards graduate students, postdoctoral research fellows, and early career researchers.

In this DEI strategic plan, goals pertaining to Research and Education emphasize ways in which FASEB can support its member societies by enhancing communications between the Federation and member societies, as well as across member societies. These goals also aim to increase awareness of ongoing programs and initiatives by member societies, to develop new resources and programs that can be accessed by member societies, and to establish collaborations with member societies to obtain funding to support such efforts. Through these collaborative efforts, the Federation and its member societies will be able to promote programs, fellowships, and other professional/career development opportunities focused on creating and fostering professional, inclusive environments that increase the recruitment and retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds to a wider range of disciplines within the biological and biomedical sciences.
 

Organizational Excellence: Short- to Intermediate-Term Goals

1. Develop a FASEB organizational statement that delineates guiding principles pertaining to DEI that will be adopted to guide workforce development and training as well as core missions and collaborations with member societies and other external scientific organizations (see Appendix I).
 

2. Adopt best practices for identifying, hiring, and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds.
 

3. Create professional development opportunities for FASEB staff and volunteers to foster an inclusive workplace and increase awareness of how individuals from diverse backgrounds contribute to the organizational mission.
 

4. Identify areas that require approaches/interventions to ensure an inclusive and equitable environment that sustains a diverse community within the Federation.
 

Organizational Excellence: Long-Term Goals

1. Promote policies and procedures for all FASEB core missions, including Summer Research Conferences, Publications, Sponsored Programs, Public Affairs and Science Policy, and Federation collaborations with member societies that highlight organizational commitment to the principles of DEI.
 

2. Work with the Leadership Development Committee and FASEB member societies to increase representation of individuals from diverse backgrounds on the FASEB Executive Committee, Board, and Standing/Ordinary Committees.
 

3. Increase visibility of programs/job openings online.

 

Strategic Area III: Public Engagement and Collaboration
 

Through the development of strategic partnerships and collaborations, FASEB has the opportunity to engage a much broader audience in the biological and biomedical sciences with the overall goal of implementing culture change. By engaging established scientists, the next generation of researchers, and the public, the Federation can more effectively increase awareness of the need to create an inclusive community that recruits individuals from diverse backgrounds and sustains diversity for the long-term in the biological and biomedical sciences.


Public Engagement and Collaboration: Short- to Intermediate-Term Goals

1. Conduct a systematic assessment of how FASEB can engage in policies related to DEI, and determine how best to establish lines of communication between the Federation, FASEB member societies, and external organizations and policy makers.
 

2. Evaluate availability resources and infrastructure that can be leveraged by FASEB staff to establish partnerships and collaborations with external scientific organizations and institutions.
 

3. Identify external entities in government, academia, foundations, professional and scientific societies, and the private sector with which FASEB can build partnerships, and collaborations to promote DEI, as well as other related issues, such as gender equity and prevention of harrassment.
 

4. Assess and share the best practices developed by external organizations to support DEI.
 

5. Identify opportunities to partner or collaborate with external entities to procure funding to support DEI.
 

Public Engagement and Collaboration: Long-Term Goals

1. Develop evidence-based assessments for ongoing and future efforts to promote DEI through collaborations with external scientific organizations to ensure that programs/interventions are effectively achieving their intended goals.
 

2. Pursue opportunities to highlight outcomes of DEI programming and initiatives arising from FASEB collaborations to the scientific community and the public.
 



Appendix I: Organizational Statement and Definitions

Development of a DEI statement that represents our core mission:

FASEB is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the biological and biomedical sciences by:

  • Promoting DEI within the Federation staff and volunteer workforce and its core missions;
  • Supporting DEI efforts of member societies;
  • Establishing collaborative partnerships outside the Federation through the development of initiatives, projects, and resources; and
  • Obtaining funding that will sustain the overall DEI mission.

 

Key definitions that can be used throughout the Federation:

Diversity: any characteristic used to categorize groups of people or individuals.

Inclusion: constitutes an environment in which groups or individuals who come from different backgrounds and life experiences are welcomed, treated equally and valued.

Equity: the guarantee of fair treatment, access to resources, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals.
 

Appendix II: Proposed implementation strategies

The following recommended implementation strategies were neither fully endorsed nor vetted, but represent ideas developed via DEI Task Force deliberations and “logic model” approach. These proposed strategies are intended to provide the DEI Committee with ideas that could help foster DEI within the Federation. Similarly, the list is not meant to be exhaustive or representative of what the DEI Committee will ultimately pursue.

a. Create a FASEB Fellows Program to identify and train promising individuals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds so that they become familiar with the organizational structure and mission of the Federation.

b. Develop onboarding programs to provide new staff and volunteers with a clear understanding of FASEB’s expectations pertaining to all as pects of professionalism and civility within the work place, scientific meetings, and conferences.

c. Offer workshops on DEI including implicit bias, microaggression, imposter syndrome, privilege, and harrasment to all FASEB staff, volunteers, and members of Federation societies.

d. Provide FASEB staff members with the opportunity to take the DiSC behavioral assessment to foster a more inclusive and collaborative organization.

e. Develop a mechanism to recognize staff and volunteers based on their efforts to promote DEI within the Federation and its core missions.

f. Host DEI discussion series geared towards FASEB/member society staff to explore cultural diversity and to learn how to communicate respectfully and productively despite underlying differences.

g. Create a FASEB DEI newsletter to highlight ongoing DEI programs/initiatives, resources, and people who make a difference.

h. Host an annual DEI symposium/workshop to address critical issues pertaining to DEI.

i. Curate participant demographic data for FASEB’s Scientific Research Conferences (SRCs) and use this information to enhance representation of individuals from underrepresented groups among meeting organizers, invited speakers, faculty, trainees, and attendees.

j. Offer workshop opportunities within the SRCs that promote professionalism and civility.

k. Establish mentoring/networking opportunities at SRCs to promote inclusivity and to provide trainees and early career investigators opportunities for professional development.

l. Assess the composition of editorial boards and develop procedures to increase participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds.

m. Conduct annual assessments of the number of articles submitted to and accepted by The FASEB Journal authored by individuals from diverse backgrounds.

n. Review organizational structures to ensure sufficient staffing and communication to effectively apply for and obtain funding from external organizations to support the promotion of DEI at all levels within the Federation.

o. Develop a mechanism to apply for grants and/or fundraise to promote DEI within the Federation and member societies.

p. Develop and implement in-person and virtual communications processes to facilitate timely, transparent, and effective communication between FASEB and the member societies, and to promote inter-society exchange of information pertaining to DEI and other related topics.

q. Pursue public-facing opportunities to highlight the existence and outcomes of DEI programming, and initiatives that arise from FASEB member society collaborations via FASEB communications channels, including the FASEB Journal.

r. Conduct an annual assessment of DEI Committee successes and shortcomings in attainment of strategic plan goals.

s. Conduct regular organizational climate surveys with FASEB staff and volunteers to determine current workforce perspectives on DEI.

t. Support establishment of a centralized, low-cost job posting site for recruitment of diverse candidates in the biological and biomedical sciences.

 

 

 

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