Benchmark externally for best practices and establish mechanisms of accountability
• Articulate the society’s business case for diversity
Define diversity and inclusiveness for the society
Outline how diversity supports the vision, mission, and goals of the society
Identify specific benefits to the society
• Mainstream diversity
Provide training and resources (e.g., staff support and funding) for diversity committees and caucuses
Continually educate and engage membership in diversity initiatives through surveys and communication vehicles; communicate survey results back to membership
The role and location of efforts to increase representation of women and/or minorities was an interesting point of discussion. Often an organization’s resource allocations can be viewed as a symbol of commitment by its members. But in the case of diversity efforts related to identity, there are two other kinds of interpretations, suggesting that this could be an overly simplified view. On the one hand, members of various identity groups may be suspicious that the mainstream organization would co-opt their efforts at grassroots activities if they were dependent upon the support of the mainstream association. Another issue that was raised is also common: are the diversity efforts that are embedded within a larger disciplinary association genuine? Or do they represent a “cooling out,” a process that merely placates identity group members but actually isolates and marginalizes their attempts to exercise voice within the association? These issues need to be explored further.
In closing, disciplinary associations are an important organizational structure through which scientists build communities of practice, rewarding achievements and enabling members to share information. As socializers of new occupational entrants, disciplinary societies impact the human resources pipeline into the workforce. Like any collective, though, disciplinary societies can serve as a conservative social force, replicating existing arrangements and hierarchies or they can be important loci of social change.