In 2010, a summit was held at the ACS annual meeting that brought together women in the early and mid/late stages of their careers to discuss how to advance a group focused on women chemists of color. In 2012, the ACS established the Women Chemists of Color Initiative with the goals to build community, enhance communication, advocate for women chemists of color, and identify resources to support women of color through their career pathways. Currently, the initiative’s main programming activities are at major annual meetings, including that of the ACS itself and those of its sister societies—the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and the Society for Advancement of Hispanics, Chicanos, and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Outcomes measurement. The moderator asked the panel about the types of outcomes measurement each professional society uses.
Bennett Johnson discussed the APA’s strong interest in attracting new members who are in the early stages of their careers, although she noted that many early-career psychology researchers do not identify their ethnicity for data collection. The APA monitors the proportion of their fellows who are women of color, and it collects data from psychology departments around the nation, tracking the occupants of tenure-track positions and the employment status and location of recent Ph.D.s. For the minority fellowship, they track the career trajectory of former fellows.
Watkins described how the ACS evaluates all programs regularly, debating what the measures of success should be and collecting and analyzing data. Concerning the newly formed Women Chemists of Color Initiative, at all events—the summit, networking events, and activities at national meetings—they poll attendees about their satisfaction with the event and solicit feedback for enhancing future activities. The success of the initiative’s first two years prompted the ACS to adopt the program as part of its Department of Diversity Programs.
Camacho spoke to two different ways of understanding success: first, as a measure of the outcomes of a specific program, and, second, the long-term success of an organization or a collaboration. She emphasized how an individual’s success in her career cannot be attributed to any single cause, and noted that SACNAS considers its efforts to be complementary to the programs in individual college and university campuses. Regarding specific programs, Camacho said that SACNAS has very good data on outcomes. And regarding their long-term success, Camacho noted two challenges: the difficulty of keeping track of people as they move along their career paths, and the difficulty of knowing specifically how SACNAS’ efforts figured into their success.
Camacho also discussed how one key component of programmatic success is helping students to see themselves as scientists: engaging students in the practice of science. SACNAS is collaborating with a faculty member at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to examine self-efficacy models and further determine what students need in order to believe they can become a scientist. One of the things that their collaborative research has shown is that students must be actively involved in research, including the communication of the research to wider audiences.
A participant reminded the presenters that professional societies need to survey their non-members in order to get a clear picture of the discipline and its levels of inclusion, and she urged