In addition, Frehill explained that the organizational structure and governance of disciplinary societies affect the extent to which they might engage in actions to promote diversity. One can better understand the functions and mechanisms used by associations to address members’ ethnic, racial, and professional identities by understanding each society’s collective identity. For example, some efforts to promote diversity are organized under the umbrella of a larger disciplinary society, such as the Women’s Chemists Committee within the American Chemical Society (ACS). Others are created outside of the existing disciplinary societies, such as the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). According to Frehill, the location of groups focused on gender, ethnic, or racial issues “may have to do with the receptivity or non-receptivity or the extent to which folks from these groups had a legitimate community within the larger professional society.” At the international and regional levels, the emergence and development of groups focused on diversity have also occurred but the time frames vary across countries.
Frehill concluded by emphasizing that “disciplinary associations are an important organizational structure through which scientists build communities of practices, reward achievements, and enable members to share information.”
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Chubin spoke on behalf of his coauthors, Catherine Didion, Josephine Beoku-Betts, and Jann Adams. He began by providing an overview of a public—private partnership known as BEST (Building Engineering and Science Talent), which evaluated 124 U.S.-based, undergraduate-centered STEM4 programs and produced a report. On the basis of available evidence, the programs were sorted into three categories: exemplary, promising, and not ready. The report identified major principles to consider when looking across programs:
• national or local cultural context matters
• sponsors, program organizers, and target populations may bring different expectations to the program
• program design may differ from its implementation
• program evolution and its “life cycle” need to be captured
• programs need to be adapted and scaled to new contexts and new populations
Chubin also gave a short list of program selection criteria, noting that exemplary programs met the following six requirements:
1. Specified forms of intervention for more than one kind of activity.
2. Specified an age, or stage, of the target population.
3. In operation for more than 5 years to signal the prospect of institutional sustainability.
4. Provided evidence of positive outcomes, as documented by third-party monitoring, evaluation, or research studies with comparison groups.
4 Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a commonly used acronym in the United States.