Principal Investigator: Anne-Marie Nunez, Department of Educational Studies
Project Dates: 03/01/2017 – 02/29/2020
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $50,000
Project Sponsor: National Science Foundation Education & Human Resources
Project FIELD: Fieldwork inspiring expanded leadership and diversity
The FIELD (Fieldwork Inspiring Expanded Leadership and Diversity) Project aims to make field activity in the geosciences more accessible, culturally sensitive, and inclusive by equipping field leaders with the perspectives, skills, and solidarity address barriers in field settings. Field activity is integral to the geosciences, yet the culture of fieldwork remains dominated by white males. Individuals who are underrepresented in STEM (e.g. people with disabilities, minorities, women, LGBTQ individuals), also face barriers with field activity, including economic exclusion, anxiety about outdoor experiences, attitudes of ableism, and accessibility. These barriers are ingrained in the culture of field training and research activities, a field culture that continues to emphasize physical ability, mental toughness, assertive behavior, and one-upmanship. The perpetuation of this culture is, in large part, a function of its leaders unquestioning socialization into it. The project will be conducted in three phases in response to project goals. The first phase entails an assessment of the existing field culture in the geosciences through observational, survey, and interview methods. In the second phase the project PI team will then convene a one-week immersive leadership development (FIELD) institute for field geoscientists to: 1) discuss the results of the field culture assessment; 2) engage in practical skills training such as bystander intervention and diversity leadership; and 3) collaboratively develop new approaches to reduce the exclusionary nature of field culture. The institute will convene in a field setting to inspire and motivate participants and to expose them firsthand to the dynamics of exclusion that can take place in the field. The third phase will consist of evaluation, assessment, and the development of a professional development leadership model based on research conducted on the FIELD Institute.