Geological Society of America Written Testimony
John W. Geissman35
My name is John W. Geissman. I am the President of the Geological Society of America, a Full Professor of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Full Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. I am testifying today on behalf of the Geological Society of America (GSA). Founded in 1888, the Geological Society of America is the oldest professional geoscience scientific society in North America. It represents over 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in all 50 states and more than 103 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, the society advances the geosciences, enhances the professional growth of its members, and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education. GSA has a standing Committee on Diversity in the Geosciences, a commitment to diversity in the GSA leadership (three women of color on the 16 member Council), as well as a new staff position focused on diversity.
The Geological Society of America recognizes the great need for and importance in enhancing the diversity of workforce that is to fill the growing and broadening workforce in Geoscience-related fields, be they in industry; local, state, tribal, or federal government positions; or higher as well as K-12 education. As the demand for a geoscience workforce grows, it is vital that we encourage all students to pursue educational experiences in the geosciences. In higher education in the United States, women of color are very poorly represented as Geoscience faculty, as documented by research by the American Geosciences Institute, and changing this situation is and will continue to be a focus of discussion by professional geoscience societies. As geoscience faculty, women of color play tremendous roles in encouraging our diverse youth to become interested in the sciences, and geosciences in particular, as a rewarding career. In October, 2011, the Geological Society of America and American Geosciences Institute met with representatives from their Associated Societies and Member Societies, respectively, to discuss enhanced efforts to coordinate activities in geoscience education across all professional geoscience societies. A major component of this discussion was how to build the diversity of the future geoscience workforce.
The Geological Society of America adopted a Position Statement on Diversity in the Geosciences in June, 2010. Part of this statement reads, “This GSA Position Statement on diversity addresses GSA staff and the membership, headquarters activities, meeting, and special functions, and the role of GSA and its members in their larger communities. In this latter regard, the statement challenges the membership and all GSA units to deal with the complexity of issues
35 Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, and President, Geological Society of America.
related to diversity in their home institutions, whether they are academic, governmental, non-profit, or industry.”
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony about the importance of woman of color in all professions in the Geosciences. The Geological Society of America is grateful to the National Research Council’s efforts to assure a greater representation by women of color in the sciences. For additional information or to learn more about the Geological Society of America – including GSA Position Statements on geoscience education and diversity in the geosciences– please visit www.geosociety.org or contact Kasey White at firstname.lastname@example.org.