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|Lessons Learned: Creating Space for Inclusive Practices in Academia
|Antoinette Foster & Lucille Moore
|May 8 2019
|With the advent of big data, many people are beginning to explore fighting social inequity and structural systems of oppression with data in order to (1) define the problem and (2) affect changes in policy. We are learning that, for the most part, much of the data around these issues don’t exist, which largely reinforces systems of oppression.
At Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR, a group of people have come together to focus on the lack of representation of historically underrepresented minorities (URM) in science as well as the lack of inclusive culture within OHSU’s graduate programs. Our group is called the Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS). We found that data on a variety of topics, e.g. statistics on the number of URM graduate students that are interviewed/accepted/decide to matriculate, and well-designed climate surveys to assess the culture of inclusivity are lacking. This leads to decision-making and policies based on incomplete data that disproportionately hurts already vulnerable populations. For example, many programs require that applicants report their score on a standardized test called the graduate record examination (GRE) despite the fact that research shows that GRE scores are more highly correlated with socioeconomic status than student success. We would like to share what we have learned through the process of forming AVDS: our successes, our challenges, and the imperative idea that we must in part approach social inequity issues with scientific and data-driven approaches.