The TMP is a massive project with over 60 researchers plus a large number of field, curatorial, and support staff in Kenya. As such, we felt it was necessary to have a project specific Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) committee. Since the project began, the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, along with the resurgence of the BLM movement, has highlighted racial injustice and the need for antiracism work in all facets of our lives, including the world of academics. This is especially true in the geosciences where there has been no progress on diversity in 40 years (Bryant and Cooperdock, 2018). Diversity spans race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, and religion. Our goal is to weave DEI objectives throughout the TMP and develop a DEI framework that project members can carry on to other avenues of their research. The committee is also charged with helping to ensure we carry out the broader impacts outlined in our proposal.
The TMP DEI committee was formed in late 2020 via open call to the TMP participants. Current members include:
- Cat Beck, Hamilton College
- Melissa Boyd, Rutgers University
- Craig Feibel, Rutgers University
- Cora Van Hazinga, Salem State University
- Mae Saslaw, SUNY Stony Brook
- Nasser Malit, SUNY Potsdam
- Cindy Liutkus-Pierce, Appalachian State University
- Francis Kirera, Mercer University
- John Rowan, SUNY Albany
- Daeun Lee, University of Michigan
- Kevin Uno, Lamont (chair)
We have developed several guiding documents for the TMP that are provided here as open access documents for other researchers to download and adapt for their own use.
The DEI committee, with input from all project members, has developed a TMP Code of Conduct that all members are expected to adhere to. This document raises awareness of cultural differences between researchers’ home countries and Kenya because many TMP members are not Kenyan but we work there. The TMP Code of Conduct is designed to support and empower students and other early career researchers and their research, with Annexes within the Code that address relationships between mentors and different levels of mentees that include undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs.
The DEI committee has also developed an Authorship and Publication Guidelines because of the complex nature and large size of the TMP. The guiding principle is that authorship is discussed early and often in the project. We follow that maxim “If in doubt, invite them on as a coauthor”.
Finally, we include an important (but not comprehensive!) list of DEI related publications in the earth and life sciences that we have found useful in our research and DEI work (last updated June 2021):
Ali, H.N., Sheffield, S.L., Bauer, J.E., Caballero-Gill, R.P., Gasparini, N.M., Libarkin, J., Gonzales, K.K., Willenbring, J., Amir-Lin, E., Cisneros, J., Desai, D., Erwin, M., Gallant, E., Gomez, K.J., Keisling, B.A., Mahon, R., Marín-Spiotta, E., Welcome, L. and Schneider, B. (2021) An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations. Nature Communications 12, 3794.
Hong, L. and Page, S.E. (2004) Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101, 16385.
Nelson, R.G., Rutherford, J.N., Hinde, K. and Clancy, K.B. (2017) Signaling safety: Characterizing fieldwork experiences and their implications for career trajectories. American Anthropologist 119, 710-722.
The below documents are available for other groups to download and modify for their own projects or labs.