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February 1, 2018

WCC Meeting Notes:

Present: Adam Subdas, Sarah Das, Mak Saito, Annette Govindarajan, Chris Land, Kathi Benjamin, David Fisichella, Dina Pandya, Christina Hernandez, Jake Gebbie, Christine Charette, Veta Green

  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Charter overview – Copies of the charter were provided as handouts and we briefly reviewed our charge and priority focal items. Also suggested that members can still view the Climate Survey results – both the executive summary and full report.
  3. Supervisor and sexual harassment training update – Kathi Benjamin updated the Committee on the effort to find and implement initial on-line sexual harassment training. Kathi summarized that, with initial input from Lily Krentzman and Christine Charette, the top two options were then presented to Mak and Annette.  The goal has been to identify an online program that suits WHOI’s needs. Kathi is currently working on implementing the program through the LIMS (Learning Information Management System) training system, and it is expected that training will begin in 2018. Two versions of the course will be offered – one for supervisors, and one for non-supervisors. WHOI has a 2-year contract with the course provider, so it will be important to obtain feedback on the effectiveness of the course as well as consider other products as they emerge. Kathi will provide updates on course logistics as they become available.
  4. Discussion on how to communicate and implement the training course – The committee discussed ways to encourage course participation.
    • Participation could be included in annual evaluations, similar to how safety courses participation is verified.
    • It will be important to have buy-in from the top – from department chairs and lab/group heads. Presentations could be made at department meetings to provide information and promote the course. At the same time, chairs and lab/group heads could also encourage reading and discussion of the new WHOI conduct policies (the committee also discussed that familiarity with the policies seems to have been encouraged in some labs/groups but not all).
    • The course could be used to stimulate constructive discussions, and one option for this is that lab/group heads could be encouraged to focus on the course at their group meetings (they would need to ask their group members to take the course before the discussion). Consider offering refreshments to encourage labs/groups hold discussions. The course could also be a topic for a future Tiny Tea discussion.
    • The course is one of the outcomes of the Climate Survey, and the WHOI community should be made aware that it is in progress, perhaps in WHOI Headlines or an Announcement (see below).
    • Add a short survey (e.g., Survey Monkey) at the end of the training to get participant feedback. The survey should be simple and not take too much time, but could include a few straightforward questions and optional commenting.
  5. Panel discussion event on harassment - The last GEPAC meeting (December 2017) included a suggestion to hold a community discussion event on sexual harassment, to capitalize on the national attention to the topic and to discuss WHOI efforts and leadership on the topic. The WCC was very supportive of this and discussed a possible summer 2018 event, which would be allow time for planning and for capturing a wide audience.
  6. Informing the WHOI community on WCC activities – Draft a WHOI announcement that rolls out our committee to the WHOI community, and also informs the community about other related institutional actions. This could also go in Headlines. Also, develop a website that will be available to click on when the announcements come out. Dina can help with this.
  7. Other items – The committee discussed issues related to gender equity including a recent outside assessment of salary equity that has resulted in salary adjustments for some individuals. There was a discussion and brainstorming about how to instill a culture of respect in the competitive academic environment.


Action Items

  • Draft a WHOI Announcement on the creation of the WCC, its charge and mission (including that it is a response to the Climate Survey); the Announcement can also refer to related WHOI actions including the new conduct policies, the upcoming rollout of the training courses
  • Create a WCC website; have a live link to go into the Announcement
  • Prepare presentation to Staff Council/department chairs on Harassment Training rollout, and how to encourage participation encourage departments to engage/participate.
  • Organize next WCC meeting in short-term