AGI Geoscience Leadership Forum on Access and Inclusion in the Geosciences
By Heather Houlton, American Geosciences Institute On September 15th, 2014, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the IAGD hosted the 2014 AGI Leadership Forum. During this annual meeting, the leadership of AGI’s member societies come together in Washington, DC to discuss pressing issues within the geoscience community. This year’s theme entitled: Accommodating Geoscience Workforce Diversity: Including the Talents of All Geoscientists illuminated the challenges faced by geoscientists living with disabilities, as well as addressed strategies for increasing accessibility within the discipline.
Participants first considered their own biases towards individuals living with disabilities, and discussed how these biases present barriers for individuals with disabilities interested in geoscience fields of study. The group also discussed critical workforce concerns and how to increase participation of individuals with disabilities in geoscience careers by establishing and promoting more accessible opportunities for training and degree programs. AGI and IAGD provided resources for geoscience organizations to ensure accessibility for their employees and professional members. Following the Leadership Forum, AGI’s current President, Dr. Eric Riggs and Workforce Development Specialist, Heather Houlton and IAGD’s Executive Director, Dr. Chris Atchison, began writing a community-driven statement focused on promoting access and inclusion.
A first draft of the AGI Access and Inclusion statement is currently being reviewed by Leadership Forum participants and the Leadership of AGI’s member societies. AGI intends on finalizing this statement and posting it on the main website complete with signatures of the organizations and societies who approve and are adopting it. It is also encouraged that those organizations will also incorporate this statement into their administrative functions.