APS Councilors-at-Large; Paul Vincelli, Gary Munkvold, and Peter Ojiambo
The 2016 APS Councilors’ Challenge, Engaging the Diversity of APS Membership, documented a substantial gender differential in APS membership. The article reported that female representation among APS student members from 2004 to 2015 ranged from 49 to 52%. In contrast, over the same period, female membership across the society as a whole ranged from only 25 to 32%. These statistics were cited to illustrate one example of diversity for which we as a society wish to continue making progress in representation, so that we can build on the strength such diversity brings to our society and to our work.
Diversity is manifested in many ways. By several important measures, APS is quite diverse. For example, 35% of our members are international, and APS membership includes solid representation from universities, the private sector, government institutions, and other organizations. We value diversity in APS, and we will continue building on our progress by assuring that our society is welcoming to all individuals interested in plant diseases, plant health, the phytobiome, and related sciences. The commitment to diversity and inclusion is a reflection of our society’s values and our desire to build on all the talent in our society.
Gender is not the only topic of interest to APS leadership. APS will continue to be the kind of society that offers open arms to all. However, the basis for our focus on gender for the new, 2017 Councilors’ Challenge is two-fold:
A substantial differential between student status and workforce status has been described as a “leaky pipeline” . This is not unique to APS; in fact, it is not unusual in the sciences as a whole . There are numerous contributing factors documented in peer-reviewed literature. The 2016 Councilors’ Challenge provided a practical and research-based suggestion for making positive progress on gender equality in our meetings [1, 3]. The 2017 Councilors’ Challenge offers the “next step” that we hope proves to be engaging and insightful for all members.
As humans, we naturally make implicit associations . Building awareness of one’s own implicit associations helps oneself to make professional decisions based on values of equality rather than implicit associations. The 2017 APS Councilors' Challenge is an invitation for APS members to enhance their self-awareness of implicit associations by engaging in a friendly competition for incentive funds among APS committees.
Any committee member may participate, and committees can recruit an unlimited number of “allies” in this competition. The three committees with the highest scores will earn $500, $300, and $200 (first through third place, respectively), with the funds to be used to support committee activities.
The basis of this Challenge is the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Here are the rules:
We are weighting gender in this particular competition—not because this indicator is more important than other diversity indicators—but for the reasons described above.
Chairs of the three highest-scoring committees will be notified by February 15, 2017. Funds may be used, for example, to help cover travel expenses for invited speakers for symposia or special sessions being planned by that committee for the 2017 APS meeting, for online webinars, for workshops planned for APS Division meetings, or for other expenses related to the work of the committee.
This is an opportunity for you to:
Your challenge as a committee is to recruit as many donors as possible to contribute to the ICPP bursary fund. Individuals who wish to have their contributions attributed to your committee should be instructed to forward to you their email receipt from APS Foundation. They may delete the amount of the donation if they wish; the competition among the committees is to recruit as many individual donors as possible. Although we encourage everyone to donate generously, the winning committees will be determined by how many contributions are attributed to your committee, not the dollar amount.
The easiest way to donate is to visit the APS Foundation booth, across from the registration desk in the San Antonio Convention Center. For your committee members who might not be at the meeting, or for donating after the meeting direct your committee members to https://donate.apsnet.org (this will go directly to the Bursary Donation form).
Deadline for donations to the bursary fund is September 15. Committee chairs - please report your committee results by sending a final list of donor names from your committee with a total count at the top of the listing to my attention at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send this information by September 30.
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