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2015 Meeting Minutes

September 28, 2015

In attendance: Annette Govindarajan, Dan Lizarralde, Stace Beaulieu, Heidi Sosik, Joel Llopiz, James Kinsey, Jodi Nickinello, Shana Thakur, Janet Fields Lea Fraser, Holly Moeller

  • We reviewed membership. Jodi Nickinello is the interim HR representative and brought along Shanka Thakur also from HR, to the meeting.
  • Following up on the last meeting, we reviewed the idea of producing a video that deals with issues in the field. We decided to put this idea aside for the time being so that we could devote our resources to a gender climate/harassment survey; and also because educational products related to these issues should be informed by an understanding of what problems exist, which will hopefully be identified by the survey. Video production should be revisited after assessing survey results.
  • We had an update on the new ad hoc committee on harassment and progress on the climate/harassment survey.  There are two related ad hoc committees.  The first ad hoc committee was formed at the request of Susan Avery to assess harassment-in-the-field issues.  As part of that assessment, a second, new ad hoc committee was formed to lead the effort to conduct a gender-climate/harassment survey.  This new committee is led by Susan Humphris, and includes Dan (co-chair with Susan) and Annette, Chris Land, Deb Hamel, Christine Charette, Eric Benway, and Julie van der Hoop.  The committee is working with an outside consulting group (Rankin and Associates) to develop and implement the survey. Susan Rankin will tentatively visit WHOI Dec 3-4 and there will be open institution-wide meetings at that time. Rankin will receive a copy of the 1988 survey and subsequent updates. We will work with Rankin in the survey question development to facilitate a comparison with the 1988 survey. We expect that the survey will be implemented in mid summer 2016. Some of the issues in developing the survey include maintaining confidentiality and encouraging participation.  Discussion of this update included the recommendation that more thought be given to the Rankin’s December visit, and in particular the goals and structure of the planned open meetings during that visit.
  • With the formation of the ad-hoc harassment/survey committee and Institution funding for the survey, GEPAC could use its resources (which it had been preserving for the survey) to sponsor a speaker for 2015.
  • While considering potential topics for a 2015 GEPAC speaker, we discussed the lack of female representation in senior leadership positions or Staff Council. There are currently no female department chairs and no females on Staff Council. One suggestion is to have at-large seats for females during situations when there is no other female representation. Additionally it was noted that there is also a lack of racial diversity in senior leadership positions. Overall, the committee feels female representation in leadership positions is an important issue that requires attention moving forward with Mark Abbott.
  • We discussed the pro’s and con’s of serving on committees for females. On one hand, experience serving on committees at more junior levels might facilitate women’s participation in institution-level leadership activities later at more senior levels. On the other hand, excessive service might take away from scientific activities and hinder professional development. Additionally, the relatively small number of female senior scientists means that they might be asked to perform a disproportionate amount of service work, so that female representation is assured.
  • We discussed expanding the employment statistics on GEPAC’s website. New statistics that will be included are female-to-male salaries ratios by position category, time in a position until promotion, and full-time vs. part-time employment.
  • Action Items:
    • Annette and Dan – continue efforts in survey design and implementation
    • Annette and Dan – research possible speaker for 2015
    • Jodi – obtain additional employment statistics
    • Annette – update website when new statistics become available

March 13, 2015

In Attendance: Annette Govindarajan, Dan Lizarralde, Janet Fields, Stace Beaulieau, James Kinsey, Joel Llopez, Heidi Sosik. Chris Land and Kate Madin participated in the 2nd half of the meeting.

1. Action items from previous minutes

2. Member rotation - Adam Shepard is looking to rotate out and Beatrice is no longer at WHOI. New postdoc members were appointed (Laura Slivinski and Alicia Cruz-Uribe).

3. Updated employment statistics are now available and need to be put on the GEPAC website. We discussed that it would be nice to have a breakdown of employees by full time, part time, and casual status.

4. We discussed moving forward with a gender climate survey that follows up on the 1988 survey. GEPAC has been laying the groundwork for this over the past couple of years and is ready to move forward on this.

5. Harassment in the field issues - Much of the meeting was spent discussing action items following from Susan Avery’s request that a Joint Group (including HR, APO, GEPAC, the Women’s Comm., and Chris Land) “review our current policies” with respect to harassment in the field and “propose additional steps … to support our research staff and students in the field”. Towards this end, we discussed production of a video on being at sea/in the field. The video would potentially have different speakers sharing their perspectives in response to questions by a moderator and target students and new hands embarking on fieldwork. We also discussed incorporating harassment issues into the climate survey. We discussed GEPAC’s role vs. HR, whether WHOI is up to date on best practices, and reiterated the need for an ombudsperson who is independent of HR. We discussed the idea of harassment training along the lines of the EHS safety classes, that would target all levels of WHOI students and employees. We discussed that while sexual harassment may fall under HR’s purview, harassment questions could be included in the climate survey (as they were in the original survey). Dan recommended the website as a useful resource for developing the survey and best practices.

5. New action items

• Annette/Dan – look for a replacement for Adam Shepard

• Annette/Stace – update the GEPAC website with current members and the latest employment statistics

• Annette – write up and send out to GEPAC for review – goals, possible speakers and questions for the video; then send to Chris Land

• Dan – contact Tina, others about moving forward with the survey and getting the funds to proceed