Diversity Inclusion Council Encourages Environment that Accepts and Values Individuals
Lab’s Diversity & Inclusion Council Encourages Environment that Accepts and Values Individuals’ Differences and Contributions
Since being formed in 2012, Jefferson Lab’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council has worked with lab leadership and Human Resources to better understand the value of these concepts, incorporating them into the lab’s culture and core functions, and raising diversity and inclusion awareness across the lab community.
Additionally, their perspectives and input are helping to formulate the lab’s Integrated Diversity and Inclusion Management program.
“Diversity and inclusion are necessary for a productive, creative work environment where a variety of perspectives are sought out, and all participants are valued,” explains Council Co-chair, Mary Logue. “Think of diversity as inviting people to a party, and inclusion as asking those attendees to dance.”
“These concepts are especially vital to developing and maintaining an innovative and strong scientific research community,” she points out. “We need a diverse work force to meet the lab’s mission.”
Diversity reflects the many differences found in society – characteristics as varied as ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion, and also includes broader themes including perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and cultures. Inclusion is the seeking out, accepting, and valuing of these differences and learning how – as individuals and as an organization – to benefit from and thrive because of them.
The explicit goals of the council are to:
- Increase awareness of diversity and inclusion to support lab leadership in maximizing the contributions of all members of the lab community;
- Improve the understanding of how diversity and inclusion affect mission accomplishment; and
- Identify potential roadblocks to diversity and inclusion in hiring, professional development and advancement practices, and in physical work environments.
The council was established at the request of Lab Director Hugh Montgomery in response to the Department of Energy call for all the national labs to take sustained action to better promote DOE and the national labs as a positive model of equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion. At Montgomery’s request, Human Resources developed a program outline to answer this call to action; and the centerpiece of this effort – the D&I Council – was chartered in 2012.
The council is comprised of 17 individuals: two associate-director-level co-chairs and employees representing the lab’s organizational divisions; types of jobs, scientists, technical and non-technical positions; different racial and ethnic groups, and gender. While membership changes over time, the mix has been maintained with five scientists, five engineers, one computer scientist, one associate coordinator, four technicians, and one administrative person among the ten men and seven women. They represent the Physics, Accelerator, Engineering, ESH&Q, and Chief Operating Officer (COO) divisions.
Council members are recommended by the co-chairs and approved by the Jefferson Lab director. Each brings with them their years of experience, different cultural and gender perspectives, a desire to learn and inform others, and the desire to maximize the laboratory’s diversity and inclusion. Human Resources staff provide administrative support, research, and training expertise.
Members serve on the council for three-year, renewable terms. Rotations are staggered to ensure continuity of knowledge and functionality, and to provide a smoother transition for new members.
The group meets at least quarterly and provides an update for the lab director. Council members complete a variety of training to help prepare them for working on the council, including three courses in cultural awareness and understanding and three on effective communication. They have learned how to be aware of and deal with topics such as “implicit bias”, and culture and gender communications. Unlike explicit bias, which most people are familiar with, implicit bias can occur below a person’s conscious awareness and affects judgment and behavior. (A more thorough discussion of implicit bias will be presented in a future article. Also see “An Introduction to Implicit Bias – GEN300,” available on the lab’s web-based training site.)
Members of the lab community are encouraged to contact council members with ideas, suggestions, problems, and observations that are pertinent to diversity and inclusion and how they are or could be further incorporated into the lab’s culture. “Council members are the prime movers for grass-roots ideas and perspectives,” Logue emphasizes.
Input to the council can also be made through Human Resources.
The next step in integrating Diversity and Inclusion into lab operations will be for supervisors and managers to receive training on program objectives. The D&I Council worked with Human Resources to develop the course: Recognizing Potential Communication Barriers in a Diverse Population. This training starts this month (September 2016) and continues through November. The course will help attendees understand the impact that culture, gender, and implicit bias may have on their communications with colleagues and others. Council members will be leading the training sessions.
Council Members (listed alphabetically after co-chairs)
Co-chair Rolf Ent, Associate Director, Physics Division
Co-chair Mary Logue, Associate Director, Environment, Safety, Health and Quality Division
Ramakrishna Bachimanchi, Engineering Division
Myung Bang, Information Technology Division
Tom Carstens, Physics Division
Amy Comer, Accelerator Division
James Davenport, Engineering Division
Butch Dillon-Townes, Engineering Division (recently retired)
Yulia Furletova, Physics Division
Carlos Hernandez-Garcia, Accelerator Division
Andrew Lumanog, Physics Division
Fulvia Pilat, Accelerator Division
Paul Powers, Facilities Management & Logistics (COO Division)
Brandye Rogers, Human Resources (COO Division)
Elliott Smythe, Engineering Division
Jennifer Williams, ESH&Q Division
Shirley Yang, Engineering Division
Rhonda Barbosa, Human Resources Director (non-voting advisor)
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles regarding Jefferson Lab’s Integrated Diversity and Inclusion Management program. The next article will more fully discuss the program and how it is being integrated and implemented into the lab’s mission, core expectations and culture.