Geo Opportunity for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of gold

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The Geological Society Of America

Geosciences currently trails other STEM fields in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups. However, we are testing a new professional-development program for established scientific leaders in the geosciences, to give them the content knowledge, tools, and skills needed to become champions of change for diversity. By targeting senior scientists who are already well-respected in the field, our project capitalizes on their reputations, networks, and social capital to build them into diversity champions with the power to make significant cultural change in their institutions and the wider field. The professional-learning sessions are called “GOLD Institutes,” where GOLD is an abbreviation for Geo Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity. These GOLD Institutes occur in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and are led by diversity-training experts from the Knapsack Institute. The first GOLD Institute was completed in July 2017 and hosted 25 participants. The second is scheduled for July 2018, and we anticipate a similar cohort, but a few will be repeat participants who will act as “mentors.” The 2017 participants included nominees who were recognized for their potential by peers, past students (mentees), and/or participants of the 2016 NSF GOLD Ideas Lab. Results of the GOLD Institute are currently being analyzed to determine the effects of the methods, but there are already positive insights gained from the experience of seeing who was nominated and the surprisingly high rate at which invitations were accepted. This presentation will act as a preliminary explanation of successes and setbacks with this effort.