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WHOI Workplace Climate Committee (WCC)

Workplace climate is commonly defined as current attitudes and patterns of behaviors that influence personal interactions in the workplace. When a positive climate exists, personal interactions reinforce a sense of respect, inclusion, and value among the WHOI community. A positive workplace climate is both desirable and essential within an intense environment of discovery such as WHOI. Studies have shown that, in contrast to institutional culture, which is a deeper, stable driver of behaviors, workplace climate can be assessed and modified with institutional efforts. With these things in mind, the WHOI Workplace Climate Committee was formed with the following charge.


The WHOI Workplace Climate Committee (WCC) will regularly assess workplace climate at WHOI and provide collaboration and leadership on the development and implementation of efforts to continuously improve the working environment. The guiding documents for these efforts will be the reports from workplace climate surveys, as well as feedback received directly from the WHOI community.  The WCC reports to the WHOI President/Director and is charged with the following duties:


  • Conduct a regular survey process approximately every five years, in collaboration with outside experts, to assess workplace climate in detail.
  • Develop more frequent mechanisms (e.g., "pulse" surveys, discussions with different WHOI groups) for the WHOI community to provide feedback on ~monthly timescales, and to identify potential problems before they grow.


  • Advise senior administration and associated committees and task forces on interpreting and communicating survey results to the greater WHOI community.
  • Advise senior administration and associated committees and task forces on steps to be taken to address issues raised by surveys and community feedback.


  • Collaborate with Human Resources and the DEI Office to ensure that policies, processes, and training are in place to support WHOI employees with issues related to workplace climate, and inappropriate conduct and behavior (e.g., supervisor and other appropriate trainings, anonymous reporting, etc.)
  • Coordinate with other WHOI committees (e.g., CDEI, SciSEC, Technical Staff Committee, International Committee, Womens Committee) to ensure efficiency and complementarity of overlapping efforts.


  • Recommend and implement ways to educate the WHOI community about behaviors that promote a positive workplace climate.
  • Host regular events (e.g., CommuniTeas, invited speakers, etc.) to educate and facilitate discussions on specific topics and curate/circulate comments and feedback.

In all areas, the WCC seeks to maintain transparency with an eye toward facilitating communications on these issues within the broader oceanographic community and WHOI senior administration.

Reporting and Membership

The WCC reports directly to the WHOI President/ Director. The committee will be led by two co-chairs and include at least 9 other individuals and four permanent ex-officio members.  Ex-officio members include the following or their representatives– the Chief People Officer, the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, the Title IX Coordinator.

Members (including co-chairs) will be determined through an open nomination or self-nomination process, followed by selection by the current co-chairs, seeking input from the CPO and CDEI to achieve diverse representation of the WHOI community. All new members will be approved by the President/Director.  Service for co-chairs will be 3 years with a single term; terms for other non-student/post-doc members will be three years renewable for a second term.  Members will rotate off in staggered years to maintain an adequate experience and knowledge base within the committee. If a member leaves mid-term, their replacement will serve the remainder of their term.  Student and Post-doc members will be selected by the Joint Program Student Representatives and WHOI Post-Doc Association, respectively, and generally serve shorter terms.


Contact the WCC Chairs at or as a group at


The Workplace Climate Committee (WCC) was formed in January of 2018 in order to provide recommendations to the Institution on workplace climate and gender equality. The WCC replaced the Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee as the committee to be involved with climate survey efforts within the Institution. The Co-Chairs reported to the Director of the Institution on progress made, and provided advice and feedback to the administration regarding further gender equity initiatives. Committee members served for approximately three years, and the Committee included representation from a wide range of departments, both scientific and administrative. The charge was updated and the size of the Committee was increased in 2022 .