Diversity Initiative

Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative

An effort to increase diversity at Woods Hole research and educational facilities has begun with the signing of the "Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative", which will increase employment and educational opportunities for minorities in the Woods Hole science centers. The initiative was first signed in July 2004 by representatives of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Laboratory of NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Sea Education Association, United States Geological Survey-Woods Hole, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Woods Hole Research Center. An updated MOU was then signed again in June 2012.

The most significant provisions of the initiative are the recruitment, retention, and mentoring programs for minority workers and students that will be created. These programs will encourage more opportunities for secondary education, college research jobs, post-graduate work, and lifetime careers for minorities in Woods Hole. According to the memorandum, increased diversity in the Woods Hole scientific community will provide "a greater understanding of environmental and scientific issues." An advisory panel has been formed composed of employees from the Woods Hole institutions who will help and answer questions of any prospective employees or students.

The Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee acts as a clearinghouse for information and other resources related to the implementation of this initiative.

Full text of the initiative follows.

Memorandum of Understanding

The Marine Biological Laboratory, The Northeast Fisheries Science Center Woods Hole Laboratory, The Sea Education Association, The United States Geological Survey-Woods Hole, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Woods Hole Research Center cooperatively establish a Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative (WHDI).

The undersigned institutions believe that diversity is a strength to be developed in our community. We believe that the issues we explore are global in nature and that a diverse population will give us greater understanding of these environmental and scientific issues. We believe that our nation is becoming more diverse and that it is important that we provide opportunities for all people to contribute. We believe that homogeneity among people is self-perpetuating and that in order to increase diversity, we will have to increase our efforts beyond what they are now.

The undersigned institutions believe that by acting together we can accomplish more than by each of us acting alone. We believe that we must create “pathways of opportunity” that will attract people from underrepresented groups by showing that the Woods Hole scientific and educational community has opportunities beginning with primary education and leading to higher education, post graduate work, research and lifetime careers, both in Woods Hole and in the global scientific community.

The goals of the Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative are to:

  1. Provide advice to the Woods Hole scientific organizations about additional activities that can be undertaken to support all employees, students and postdoctoral researchers in achieving their full potential within the Woods Hole research, learning, and work environment regardless of their race, religion, color, creed, gender, age, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, or veteran status. A particular focus of the WHDI is to increase participation of underrepresented minorities as defined by the U.S. government, which includes African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics and Latinos, on the staff and in the education programs of the WHDI institutions.
  2. Be a resource through sponsored activities and referrals that support employees, students, and postdoctoral researchers in achieving their full potential within the Woods Hole research, learning and work environment regardless of their race, religion, color, creed, gender, age, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status or veteran status.
  3. Cooperatively undertake recruitment, retention and mentoring programs that will result in a diverse group of students, employees and postdoctoral researchers in ocean sciences, biological sciences, geosciences, ocean engineering, and marine and environmental policy activities undertaken by the Woods Hole scientific and educational organizations.

The undersigned acknowledge that significant barriers lie between us and our goal. We are determined to identify these and assemble the resources necessary to overcome them.

Signed this 25th day of June, 2012

Russell W. Brown, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Northeast Fisheries Science Center,
Woods Hole Laboratory
NOAA

John K. Bullard
President
Sea Education Association

Susan K. Avery, Ph.D.
President and Director
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Gary G. Borisy, Ph.D.
President and Director
Marine Biological Laboratory

Walt Barnhardt, Ph.D.
Team Chief Scientist
U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole

Eric A. Davidson Ph.D.
Director
Woods Hole Research Center