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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable CLOSING REMARKS Isiah M. Warner: It is nice to have a dream, but if the dream does not come true, you are really disappointed. But to have a dream exceed your expectation, you cannot ask for any more than that. The special fuzzy feeling around my heart will be with me for another week, because of what has gone on here in the past couple of days. I wanted to have something very different happen, from when I have been at other conferences where they have talked about minorities. I think something different has happened in the past couple of days. Now, whether that leads to positive action remains to be seen, but something different will be put on paper. Joseph Francisco and I have been brainstorming about how to get this out further into the community. The other thing is, I learned something—I have been interacting with one of my colleagues, Saundra McGuire, who is a chemist, but she specializes in chemical education. There is something I never knew anything about, called Bloom’s taxonomy. I just learned about this. Bloom’s taxonomy has to do with recall. The next steps are interpretation, application, analysis, and all of that sort of thing. When you put a student into the laboratory, what you are doing is taking that student one notch above into Bloom’s taxonomy. Most students come into college operating on the recall level. They memorize it and spit it back out. When you have them working with their hands in the laboratory, you take them up Bloom’s taxonomy, so they operate on a higher level of learning. That is why those students’ grades begin to improve. I knew this happened. I did not know why until I started talking with Saundra McGuire. We learn a lot from interacting with our colleagues who are not necessarily just in chemistry research, but colleagues who are in education. I think we need to do more education, more interaction with our people in education, and learn more about things that we had learned by happenstance. We need to learn why they are working, and I think we can do a more effective job. Thank you for attending the conference. Joseph S. Francisco: Thank you. I have just done a good job of restraining myself from interrupting these discussions. I am very excited here. I want to tell you why I am so excited for this opportunity to interface with all of you and have these important discussions. Back in 1987, I was privileged to stand in this very room. At that time, a number of talented young chemists were invited here to talk about chemistry departments with the chemical industry, CEOs and vice presidents. Then they brought the faculty of the future, who will be leading the chemistry departments in this century. I was invited, and I was the only black face. I did not understand why I was there, because I was not from MIT nor from Berkeley. I was from Wayne State University. That was also the anomaly. I thought the only reason why I was there was because they needed a black face. All of you know what I mean. That was my first time experiencing that feeling. Nevertheless, I decided to listen to what the issues were. Now, one of the big problems back then was the chemical workforce. This is a problem now, but in that discussion, the question at the time was where the bodies were going to come from for the chemical industry. We knew that it would be places like the Eastern bloc countries, where the walls were going to be coming down. This was going to be the opportunity for the chemical workforce, because it was easy, because they had already been trained, and because our economy was moving toward globalization; we
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Minorities in the Chemical Workforce: Diversity Models that Work - A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable could actually make our workforce appear global. Remember, we wanted to be a global player in the global market with global people. When I came to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable, I was privileged to hear this discussion on diversity in the chemical workforce, and I have to say, I cannot take credit for the organization of this workshop. It was the discussion of the minorities in the chemical workforce spearheaded by Isiah Warner, Robert Lichter, and Michael Doyle. I came in on the latter part of it. I was delighted when I heard the discussion here at the NRC. We finally have started to look at people in our own backyards. We have a lot of talent in this country, and that talent has been largely untapped. I am delighted and happy that the NRC and industry and some universities are finally seeing the light about what we have to do to embrace our talent in this country. I hope that all the input and all your contributions and all your stories tell a story in itself that will impact every administrator, every chemistry department in this country for this new century.
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